What Do You Need To Rent A House?

What Do You Need To Rent A House?
by John Carlucci - August 9, 2022

Whether you're renting from a huge management business or a small-time landlord, you'll likely be required to complete a rental application when you're ready to rent a house. Typically, the landlord or property manager picks who to rent to based on the application and, frequently, a tenant screening tool that runs a background check and credit report on the applicant. Once you understand what landlords normally seek, you will be better prepared to rent a home.

Tip Inform your references and human resources department that you have listed them on your rental application, so they are not shocked when they receive a phone call from a potential landlord.

Satisfy Income Requirements

The ability to pay the rent is arguably the most significant prerequisite for renting a home. Commonly, landlords stipulate that no more than 30 percent of your salary be spent on rent. Suppose you and your roommate earn $80,000 per year, and the monthly rent is $1,500. Do you qualify? The response is "Yes." 30% of 80,000 equals 24,000, and 24,000 divided by 12 months equals $2,000. In this instance, you qualify in spades.

However, rent is frequently well above $1,500 per month, especially in attractive areas such as San Francisco. For instance, some landlords in high-cost locations may permit you to spend 40 or even 50 percent or more of your salary on rent. Keep in mind that when you spend a large portion of your salary on rent, you will have less money to spend on other things.

Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score, the more advantageous it is for you to purchase anything on credit. Renting a home is comparable to taking out a loan because monthly payments are often required. The landlord will be more comfortable renting to you if your credit score demonstrates that you pay your bills on time, as opposed to if you have a history of making late payments or not paying your bills at all. Note that your recent credit history is typically more relevant to a landlord than your past credit history. Therefore, it is preferable if you've been paying your payments on time for the previous year or two after having some difficulty in the past. Offer to pay additional security or a month's rent in advance if your credit score is less than fantastic.

You Are Your Background

Landlords that do background checks will examine your criminal history and eviction history. If you have a record of violent offenses or domestic abuse, if you have been arrested for drug selling, or if you have been evicted in the past, it will be more difficult for you to locate a rental home. Although you may never do any of these things again, many landlords will not allow you to rent their property if you have a history of such conduct.

Choose Verifiable References

Almost all landlords require references. Consequently, they have little interest in speaking with your parents or closest friend. They wish to speak with your previous landlords and employer. Landlords will contact your previous landlords to determine if you were a reliable renter who paid rent on time. They will inquire with your employer as to if you actually work where you claim to and whether you are a dependable employee.

Section 8 Qualifiers

If you are a low-income renter who receives Section 8 help from the federal government, you can only rent residences that accept Section 8 vouchers. In San Francisco, however, landlords must accept Section 8 vouchers and cannot reject tenants just because Section 8 will pay a portion of their rent. However, no landlord is required to accept you if you get Section 8 aid. You would likely still be required to submit an application.

Off-Limits Qualifiers

Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against seven protected classifications, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, and familial status. Thus, a landlord cannot inquire about your religious affiliation or country of origin. Even if the property has a "no dogs" policy, they cannot refuse your service or emotional support animal. Just be sure you include the proper documentation for your dog along with the application.

Before entrusting a property to a new tenant, landlords typically expect them to have sufficient funds and solid repayment history. Know that your income, credit score, and previous rental and work history are vital when determining how to rent a house.

If you are interested in more articles like this, here’s one about how you get the most money out of selling a house as-is.


  • John Carlucci

    John has worked alongside Real Estate Giants across USA and Canada for decades. Since he started Prudentialcal, he has been actively rendering service as business adviser to many companies in the real estate industry. He formed Prudentialcal in hopes of providing the most reliable stories and information there is in the vast industry of real estate

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