Rental Requirements: A Guide for First Timers

by | Dec 26, 2019 | Renting

Rental requirements vary from state to state, but in Missouri these requirements are dictated by your property management company or landlord. Now there are laws in place to protect you once you are renting the home or apart, but first you will want to be aware of what the rental requirements generally are for you to be approved.

Note: This is general list and may vary from property management company to property management company. This list also does not apply to those who receive housing benefits or have other special circumstances.

1. Income and Employment Requirements


Your property manager wants to make sure you can pay your rent every month and still survive so they often put income requirements in place to vet renters.

You will likely need to put information about your income on your application form and it will generally need to be 3x the monthly rent. This normally does not include utilities.

Now, if you are moving into the home or apartment with another person, both of your incomes will be taken into consideration.

You will also need to provide your employment history so that the property manager knows that you can hold down a job and will be able to pay rent for the duration of your lease.

2. Credit Score Requirements

credit-score-post-itMost property managers will either ask for you to provide your credit score or look it up themselves to ensure that you are responsible enough to pay your bills on time and do not have a large amount of outstanding debt that could inhibit your ability to pay rent.

Some managers are more lenient on this than others but ideally, you want a credit score that is 650 or higher. If your credit score is below 650, disclose that to your property manager and explain the situation.

They may be willing to overlook a lower score if you do regularly pay your bills on time but have had debt in the past that lowered that score.

3. Background Checks

criminal-background-checkIt is very rare that a property manager won’t run a background check on a new applicant, especially if the applicant is moving into a building with multiple units.

Background checks are meant to both protect the property and the other people living in or around that property. If there is something that you know is going to show up on your background check, it is best to tell the property manager.

Most will rent to those with non-violent misdemeanors but people who have committed violent crimes or felonies are seen as a huge liability. Now, this is 100% up to the property management company and varies case by case.

4. Character References

Similar to a job reference, many property managers will require you to write down three people who can give an accurate character reference for you.

Pay attention to who you can and cannot write down on your application. For example, some applications may want references that are not related to you.

Other companies may be fine with you writing down relatives as a reference, but you cannot write down anyone who will be living in the space with you.

Now, many companies will look at rental history and contact your previous property manager to ask about you as a renter. But since it is your first time renting, you won’t have any rental history and they will likely call your references instead.

5. Pet Requirements and Policies

cute-catAlmost every rental unit or home has specific policies regarding pet ownership.

Some will not allow pets at all. Others will allow small dogs or cats and require you to pay extra money every month and some are 100% pet-friendly and your furry friend won’t cost you any extra money.

If you are a pet owner or plan to own a pet in the near future, make sure you ask about the pet policies and ensure that they will work for you.

Some people try to “sneak” a pet into their rental that is either not approved or to avoid paying extra money. Do not do this. You will be in breach of your lease agreement and could possibly get evicted or heavily fined.

Note: Evictions heavily affect your ability to rent in the future

6. Provide the Right Documentation

Before your application is approved your property manager could ask for a number of things. The most common being:

  • I.D.
  • Social Security Number
  • Recent paycheck stubs
  • Copy of your credit report (discussed above)
  • A description of your car and license plate number (for parking purposes)

Most if not all of these things will need to be provided with your application or immediately after your application is approved if you want to rent the space.

Tips for Getting Approved

  • Make a good first impression and be polite.
  • Be prepared to provide information and documents to the property manager in a timely manner.
  • Respond to emails the property manager or leasing agent send you within 24 hours.
  • Be honest about employment history, criminal background, credit score, etc.
  • Be prepared to pay your application fee or a deposit to hold the apartment.

There you have it. Some of the most important rental requirements to rent your first home or apartment. Although it may seem overwhelming, remember that this is an exciting time in your life and your property manager is there to help you – they want you approved, too!

If you are ready to rent, take a look at our rental listings by clicking below and call Dream Homes by Jen at 816.405.2439 if you would like more information on renting in Kansas City!

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