What Documents Do I Need to Rent a House?

Renting benefits people who can't qualify for a mortgage and people don't want the responsibility of owning a home. While renters don't have to meet strict lender guidelines, landlords often request certain documents to ensure that an applicant can meet the monthly obligation.

Depending on the landlord, he may order a copy of your credit report to check your history. He'll review the credit report and look for derogatory statements such as a history of late payments, bankruptcy, foreclosure or eviction. Additionally, some landlords conduct background checks on potential tenants. In order to conduct the necessary credit and background checks, landlords will require a copy of your driver's license and Social Security card to verify your identity.

Income Documentation
Landlords will assess your monthly or yearly income to qualify you for a rental property. Landlords need to know how you'll make the monthly rent payment, and they'll ask for documentation such as your most recent pay stubs or tax returns for the past two years if you're self-employed. Bank statements or retirement income statements are also acceptable documentations. Do not give landlords the original. Make copies and include these with your rental application. Retain the originals for your personal records.

Apartment applications often ask for two or three references. And if you have a history of bad credit, landlords may want a verification letter from your previous landlords, stating that you made your rent payments on time each month. A history of on-time rent payments can compensate for a reduced credit rating.

Lease Agreement
Lease or rental agreements are an important aspect of the rental process. This document spells out the terms of the lease. Thoroughly read the agreement before signing your name, and ask questions if you don't understand aspects of the agreement. Lease agreements ought to include information such as the lease term, monthly rent payment, late fees and consequences of early termination. After you sign the agreement, your landlord should make a copy of the lease agreement for your personal records. If not, contact your landlord to request a copy of the rental agreement.