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News and tips for Canada's renters, home buyers, home sellers and property managers.

10 Jun 2013

A rental application is an important document for both renters and landlords. For renters, it gives you the opportunity to paint an accurate picture of yourself that will assist you in landing the apa

A rental application is an important document for both renters and landlords. For renters, it gives you the opportunity to paint an accurate picture of yourself that will assist you in landing the apartment you want. For landlords, it provides you with vital information that will sway your decision regarding who occupies your apartment for rent. Here, some tips on what to include – and what you can leave out.Apartment Rental Application

Credit Check Information:

For most apartments, you’ll need to provide some information, such as your social insurance number, to help the landlord do a credit check. The credit check does not allow the landlord to see all of your credit cards, student loans and other debts. Rather, they will be provided with your credit score number. According to The Globe and Mail, the credit score range in Canada is 300 to 900 – the higher the better – and reflects a person’s credit history over the past six years. Only 5 per cent of Canadians have a score of 850 or better. If you do not feel comfortable providing your SIN, you do not have to do so. Be aware, however, that this could negatively impact your chances at getting the apartment. Speak with the landlord when filling out the application form to see if there are other options for you.

References:

Being able to provide contact information for previous landlords will help you greatly. This gives the landlord the opportunity to ask questions about you, like if you paid your rent on time or if you were a good tenant. In most cases, you should get a great reference. However, if there were any issues, it is important to tell your new potential landlord up front. Take the time to tell your side of the story and provide background information. In cases like these, honesty is the best policy – and it’s better for the landlord to hear it from you than to get a nasty surprise when they call one of your references.

Proof of Income:

You may be asked to provide proof of income or, at the very least, to tell the landlord how much money you make per month. While this seems invasive, they need to know that you can pay your rent each month without any problems. It would be a good idea to bring a copy of your resume with you when you fill out the rental application. The landlord will then be able to see where you currently work and how long you’ve been there. You may also want to provide your boss as a reference so the landlord can feel comfortable knowing that you are indeed employed where you say you are.

Occupants:

Another potential question you will be asked on the rental application is how many people will be living in the unit. If you will be signing the lease with another person (roommate or spouse) they will need to fill out their own rental application providing the information we have listed here. This question tends to focus on whether or not others, besides those listed on the lease, will be staying in the apartment. You may also be asked to disclose what type of pet, if any, you will have in the apartment. It’s important to be fully aware of the tenancy laws in your province before answering these questions. For example, a landlord may say you cannot have pets but the provincial laws may state otherwise.

The website eHow explains further why rental applications are important documents – and what information you should include:

Function:

Whether you are renting a home or renting an item like a television or furniture, you will be required to fill out a rental application. The function of a rental application is to provide the business with information about you, your employment, criminal history and a list of contacts who will be your references. All of these factors will be used to determine whether you are eligible to rent the property or item.

Required Information:

Some information on a rental application is desired because it will help determine eligibility, while some information is required. Required information left incomplete on a rental application can make you ineligible to receive the property or item. Items that may be required on a rental application include full name, both a mailing and current physical address, social insurance number and a phone number or other contact information.

Financial Information:

Banking information is often required information on a rental application. Depending on which state you are in, you may be required to give your bank account numbers also, or you may just be asked what bank you use, an estimation of funds in your bank account and a phone number to contact the institution. This information will be used to make sure that you have funds available to pay for the rental. Employer information may be required in this section of the rental application also. The information used from your employment information determines the eligibility for the rental since it proves that you have a source of steady income.

References:

References are contacts that are listed on a rental application. These contacts are people, businesses or banks that can vouch for your ability to pay on time and that can establish your character. Some rental applications will be thrown out if the references cannot be contacted so it is important to include with each contact the best time to call. The references you choose to put on your rental application can determine whether or not you get the rental.

Legal Information:

Most rental applications have a section of legal information. This part of the application will include what landlord or business can do with the information on the application once it is signed. This may include permission to gain credit reports, contact references and run a criminal history check. It will also state that any information found to be false or incomplete will be grounds for the rejection of the application. Other legal information may be included in this section depending upon local guidelines and laws for rental applications. Read the application carefully before signing and ask any questions if you feel uncomfortable.

Hopefully this information will help expedite and explain the rental application process when applying for your new apartment rental!

The RentSeeker.ca Team