What Can Disqualify You From Renting an Apartment? 

By PropertyClub Team
May 16th 2024
Applying for an apartment can be stressful, so it helps to be prepared and understand what the landlord will be looking for. Before you waste your time applying all over town, knowing what you need to qualify and what can work against you is essential. Here are ten reasons ways that can disqualify you from renting an apartment.

hash-mark10 Things That Can Disqualify You from Renting an Apartment

  1. Insufficient Income
  2. Bad Credit
  3. No Credit History
  4. Criminal Record
  5. Negative References
  6. History of Evictions
  7. Gaps in Your Renting History
  8. Errors in Your Paperwork or Application
  9. Too Many Applicants
  10. Pets

hash-mark1. Insufficient Income

Not having a high income is the first thing that can disqualify you from renting an apartment. After all, landlords will want to see that you make enough money to afford the rent every month. They usually use the 3x rent rule which states that you make at least 3x the annual rent to prove you can comfortably afford the apartment. If you don’t make enough money or your income is inconsistent, this could be grounds for immediate disqualification.

hash-mark2. Bad Credit

Bad credit can also disqualify you from renting an apartment. Landlords also want to know that you’re responsible for your money, so they’ll do a credit check when you apply. Every landlord has different standards when it comes to credit, but most will want to see a score in the mid to high 600s or better. If you have a bankruptcy, foreclosure, collections, or other negative marks on your credit, this may be a cause for disqualification. 

If your credit isn't the best check out our guide on how to get an apartment with bad credit

hash-mark3. No Credit History

Even if you don’t have bad credit, a lack of a cred history can also work against you. If you just graduated college and haven’t started building credit yet, or you’re moving from a different country and don’t have a US credit score, the landlord may require a guarantor or deny you outright.

hash-mark4. Criminal Record

When you apply for an apartment, the landlord will likely do a background check to look for any record of criminal activity. If you’ve been convicted of a serious crime, especially if it was violent, this will likely lead to immediate disqualification. Although, minor things like misdemeanors and petty crimes may be overlooked, depending on the landlord.  

hash-mark5. Negative References

You may be required to submit references from previous landlords to prove your ability to pay rent on time and respect the rights and privacy of other tenants. If none of your previous landlords has nice things to say about you and write negative comments or refuse to provide a reference, this will likely lead to a denial.

hash-mark6. History of Evictions

Having an eviction can also disqualify you from renting an apartment. While evictions typically don’t go on your credit report, they will be in the public record, which landlords can access if they wish. They could also run an eviction report along with your credit check or contact your previous landlord for a reference. So, you will likely be denied if you have a history of prior evictions.

However, there are still ways to get an apartment even with an eviction in your record. You can definitely rent with an eviction in your record, but be prepared for a potentially lengthy search until you find a landlord willing to accommodate you. The easiest approach is to seek out a private landlord and offer a higher deposit or provide additional references.

hash-mark7. Gaps in Your Renting History

Unexplained gaps in your rental history may also be a potential cause for concern to a landlord. Although it may not be an automatic disqualification, especially if you have a valid reason for the gaps in your report, you’ll want to address it. Your application could be denied if the reason is related to an eviction or financial problem.

hash-mark8. Errors in Your Paperwork or Application

Intentional misrepresentation of facts on your application that show deliberate acts of dishonesty will be grounds for disqualification. An example would be writing an income on your application that does not match your tax returns or paystubs. If the error was unintentional and you address it quickly, the landlord may be willing to forgive you. But any conscious attempts to falsify records or manipulate the application process can get you in serious trouble.

hash-mark9. Too Many Applicants 

Another unexpected reason you may be disqualified from renting an apartment is having too many tenants on the application. Some buildings have strict rules about how many people can live in an apartment – typically two per bedroom. So, if you’re looking to cram five people into a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll likely get denied unless the landlord is open to the arrangement.

hash-mark10. Pets 

Not all buildings allow pets, especially large dogs and other animals that may scratch the floor or cause damage to the unit. So, if you have a pet, check with the landlord or property manager beforehand to find out what is allowed. If the property doesn't allow pets, that can disqualify you from renting an apartment in the building. The one exception is a service animal, but you must have approval from a certified medical professional.

hash-markWhat Can Disqualify You From Renting an Apartment Bottom Line

Before renting an apartment, you should make sure to get your finances in order and verify all the rules and regulations of the buildings. Some landlords may be more relaxed regarding certain issues, while others may have a no-tolerance policy. So before you submit an application, it’s always best to be honest about your situation and look for a landlord who will be open to working with you rather than waste time applying all over town.