In a competitive rental market, landing your dream apartment can be more challenging than you think. You find some great apartments, send in your applications, but they are sadly rejected. Landlords have their own unique screening criteria to make sure they pick safe tenants. They want a tenant who pays rent on time and maintains the property well. So why was your rental application denied? Let's take a step back and assess why that is and how to improve for next time!

Why was my rental application denied?

You didn't apply fast enough.

The rental market is competitive and your rental application can be denied if you don't apply fast enough. As a renter, you must be ready with your application if you like a place and submit it ASAP instead of spending too much time contemplating the pros and cons of the property. It can save you valuable time and be ahead of other potential applicants. It's best to have the move-in fees ready too!

Your gross income was inadequate.

Your landlord or property manager can deny your rental application if you fail to meet their income requirements. Even when you apply with a roommate, the rental applications are screened independently. Again, it's to make sure that you can still afford to pay the rent if your roommate leaves.

No matter what: you also shouldn't provide an incorrect income. Your landlord will verify your bank statements or income tax filings. If your mentioned income doesn't match the verification sources, you will get your rental application denied.

You have bad credit.

Credit scores are an essential criteria landlords use to screen potential tenants. Your credit score gives a picture of how regularly you pay your bills on time. Landlords can also look at any debts or loans you have. Having a bad credit score can get your rental application denied.

If you have a bad credit history, get a recommendation letter, or ask someone to co-sign with you (like us).

You didn't make it through the background check.

Landlords run a background check of your rental history, eviction history, and criminal history. They usually make use of professional renter screening services. If they notice any evictions or gaps in rental payments, they'll ask you questions. However, in most cases, if they have sufficient applicants, a less than stellar background check will get your rental application denied. However, you can fortify your application with good recommendation letters from your employer or co-workers.

Your references didn't work out.

A reference letter tells your landlord if you'll be a reliable tenant. Having bad or no references can get your rental application denied. Landlords use connections to verify the validity of the information you provided. For example, they may call up a previous landlord and ask for your rental history or how well you maintained the property.

They can Google your employer's details and contact them to verify your validity as well. Lying on your reference letter is a major red flag and can get your application denied.

You have pets.

Some apartments and rentals have a strict "no-pet" policy, and having a pet can get your rental application denied. Therefore, always check for rentals that are pet-friendly before sending your rental application. Remember that you can face eviction if you sneak your pets inside the rented property.

You lied on the rental application or faked your documents.

Don't forget that your landlord runs comprehensive background checks on all the tenant applications. So chances are if you've lied or faked any information on your application, you may get your rental application denied.

Most lease agreements have a clause mentioning that landlords can terminate the lease and evict you if they discover forged information on your rental application. Lying on legal documents is a major red flag. Even with a co-signor or a guarantor, your rental application can be denied for an offense like this.

*All information and content is for general informational purposes only. The information provided here is not legal advice. Readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.