Showing proof of income for an apartment may be difficult, but it is entirely possible to get approved for the right apartment for you and your family. In fact, with a little research, it’s possible to get approved even if you don’t have all of the required proof of income documents.
The trick is to find the perfect balance of proof of income documentation and other important qualification factors like income to rent ratio, income consistency, and credit scores.
In this article we will discuss how to show proof of income for apartment.
Table of Contents
- Types of Proof of Income for Apartment
- Proof of Income for Self Employed
- Proof of Income Verification
- Proof of Income Consistency
- Proof of Income Timeframe
- Income Ratio vs Apartment Rent
- Minimum Required Apartment Credit Score
- Rental History Verification
- Apartment Application Fees
- Timeline to Get Approved for an Apartment
- What do Apartments Typically Ask For?
- Frequently Asked Questions about Showing Proof of Income for Apartment
Types of Proof of Income for Apartment
Paycheck stubs are the most trusted proof of income. Therefore, having your paycheck stubs ready are going to be helpful in showing proof of income for an apartment.
Paycheck Stubs help landlords determine how reliable and stable your income is and also help rental agents determine if you are getting paid enough money to rent out the apartment.
But more importantly, pay check stubs serve as proof of income.
If you need pay stubs, visitor our pay stub generator to generate your pay stubs instantly. Or if you want more information on how to get pay stubs, we created a dedicated article on how to get pay stubs.
2. Proof of Income Letter
As long as your proof of income is real and you are not making it up, most landlords will accept a letter from your employer as proof of income. In this case, the landlord may go ahead and mail a signed document to you confirming that they showed proof of income.
Your W2s are also a good form of proof of income because it shows how much you made for a company during an entire year. The downside to using W2s is they are a yearly statement. Employers typically give their employer a W2 for the previous year at the end of the year. Therefore, you won’t have W2s for the current year. For apartments, most landlords tend to prefer your W2s if you are self-employed.
3. Bank Statements
Your bank statements are also another good verification of proof of income. It shows that you have money to cover your rent payments every month and that you can afford the apartment. The catch is, it doesn’t necessarily show how much money you make through your job or if you make enough income to rent an apartment. That’s where other documents can help.
If you are looking for more proof of income documentation, we have outlined a more comprehensive list of 25 documents you can use to show proof of income.
Their may be different proof of income documentation for the self employed. A self employed individual is someone who is not an employee of any company, but rather owns a business and employs their own working. In this case, many apartments may want to see further proof of income documentation such as Bank Statements, 1099s or Tax Returns.
Proof of Income Verification
An apartment manager may often verify your income with your employer. They may call your place of employment to make sure that you are currently working at the company and making the right income. If there is a discrepancy with this information, your approval may be delayed or even denied.
Often times they will send an income verification letter or email for your employer to fill out. The employer will typically check with the payroll or accounting department to make sure all income can be verified.
Proof of Income Consistency
The next thing to understand is that for proof of income, most application forms focus more on how consistently you make the same amount of money each month rather than the actual figure itself. They also want to see a string of monthly income payments that are consecutive. If there are gaps in your proof of income documents where you made little to no money, it shows your income is not consistent.
Proof of Income Timeframe
You generally need at least 3 months or more of consistent proof of income before you can apply for an apartment. As long as you have 3+ months’ worth of proof of income documentation, your proof of income will usually look very good.
It is important to note, many people often confuse 3 months’ worth of income as only providing 3 proof of income documents. The number of proof of income documents needed to show 3 months’ worth of income depends on the pay period or pay schedule listed on the documents.
If you pay frequency listed on the proof of income documents is weekly, then you would need to provide 12 documents (4 weeks per month X 3 months) to fully show 3 months’ worth of documentation.
Proof of Income Timeframe vs Pay Period
The following table demonstrates how many proof of income documents you need to provide based on the pay frequency for various lengths of proof of income requirements:
|Proof of Income Timeframe||Weekly||Bi-Weekly||Semi Monthly||Monthly||Quarterly|
Keep in mind, with the Bi-weekly pay schedule (paid every two weeks), you may have to show one or more additional proof of income documents because some months may have more than 2 pay periods in a month.
Income Ratio vs Apartment Rent
To get a good feeling for how showing proof of income works, you should first begin thinking about the monthly income vs. apartment rent ratio. Apartments typically look for an income to rent ratio of about 2x to 3x. Where the median income to rent ratio is 2.5x.
For example, if you are looking for a $2000 rental apartment you will need to show proof of income that can total $4,000 – $6,000 a month. However, keep in mind that if the apartment is more expensive, it is likely that they will require higher income ratio. Which means the amount of money you earn each month may be well over the amount required by the landlord.
Monthly Income Required to Get Approved for Apartment
The following is a list of monthly apartment rent amounts and monthly income required to get approved at the Low 2x, Mid 2.5x, and High 3x income to rent ratios:
|Min Required Income|
|Min Required Income |
|Min Required Income|
The first thing to understand is that the amount of income you have is not necessarily as important as the consistency of your income. This is because apartment rents are a “must pay” expense, unlike credit cards or auto loans that can be missed.
If someone were approved for an apartment with insufficient income, then there would be nothing to do about rent payment issues if the tenant suddenly lost his job or fell behind on their rent.
Minimum Required Apartment Credit Score
Income is not the only factor apartment managers look for when determining apartment eligibility. Apartment managers also look at your Credit Score as well.
This the minimum credit score requirement to get approved for the apartment. The higher your credit score, the easier approval will be. If your credit score is low, you may need to improve it before applying.
Apartments typical have a minimum credit score rating of 550 per applicant. That is a credit score rating of 550 per adult person listed on the apartment application.
Keep in mind, that some apartments may even require a 620+ credit score per applicant. It is best to contact the apartment complex, and ask what is the minimum credit score required to rent one of your apartments?
Credit Scores Show Eviction History
If you have been evicted in the past, this is often seen as a red flag to your rental application. Ask your landlord about how they handle an eviction history and find out if they are ok with it or not, before paying for any application fees.
Rental History Verification
Landlords will also typically want to see a history of paying rent on time. Apartments can check with former landlords to make sure that you aren’t lying on your application. If they can’t verify your past rental history, it can be a red flag.
Consequently, it’s important to never lie on an application or even neglect to mention rental properties you’ve had in the past.
Apartments also want to see that you are not a high risk when it comes to the amount of notice you give in your rental history and how long it took you to pay your rent. They also want to see whether you have been subject to for lease termination or what type of landlord evictions you may have on your record.
This information also shows them that they will be able to rely on you paying your rent on-time every month and that they can expect consistent rental payment each month rather than a random one-off occasional payment.
Apartment Application Fees
Typically, the application fees for apartments can range anywhere from $25 to $75 per adult applicant. Most apartments only charge for adult applicants, 18 years and older.
For example, if a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) is applying they may have to pay 2x the general application fees. The more application fees you have to pay, the greater business interest that the apartments will have in you and your family.
There is typically no way around these application fees. They cover apartment administrative costs in processing your application. Keep in mind though, that some apartments are owned by the same management company. Therefore, there is a change they can use your same application fees some of their other apartments.
Rental application fees are highly regulated by the government, and apartments are not supposed to make money on these fees. They are there only to cover administrative fees in processing your application. Therefore, if apartments abuse the collection of these fees, you can report them.
Although apartment application fees are required by most apartments, you do have rights. Many prospective tenants are unaware of the laws and regulations.
Following are some rights appointed to people paying rental application fees:
- Your application should be kept on file for anywhere from 30-45 days after you apply.
- You have the right to access your application and inspect it.
- You have the right to receive a copy of the application fee statement and information on the manner in which the fee will be used.
- If an application fee was improperly charged, it must be refunded and proper reimbursement.
- If your credit report was processed, you have a right to access your credit score report.
Check your state and city laws to know your rights when it comes to rental application fees.
It is important to make sure you always budget for these application fees, because they can add up—especially if you are applying for multiple apartments.
Timeline to Get Approved for an Apartment
The time it takes to get approved for apartment depends on a number of factors.
- How long it takes for income verification to process. (3-4 days)
- How long it takes for credit report to show (1-2 days)
- How long it takes for your rental history verification to process (2-3 days)
- How long it takes to get to your application if there are other applications ahead of your application (3-4 days)
Landlords have different needs based on the time of year and availability. But fortunately, by consistently following up, most prospective residents can easily get approved in 1-2 weeks. That is if your proof of income documents, credit score, and rental history are favorable.
What do Apartments Typically Ask For?
Apartments will ask for various information for your application. Here are some common things apartments will ask for when processing your application:
- Name and Address for each applicant
- Copy of Driver’s license for each adult
- Copy of SSN card for each applicant
- 2 Years Rental History
- Rental Verification for each applicant from previous landlords
- Proof of Income Documents
- Pay Stubs
- Proof of Income Letter from Employer
- Bank Statements
- Credit Report
If you are applying for multiple apartments, it can be helpful to have all these documentations ready in a convenient folder.
Frequently Asked Questions about Showing Proof of Income for Apartment
How to Show Proof of Income for Apartment
Pay stubs, bank statements, and W2s are often used as proof of income on apartment rental applications. Typically, apartment complexes want to see at least 3 months worth of consistent income.
How to rent an apartment without proof of income?
If you don’t have a steady income, you may have a hard time getting an apartment rental agreement. You may want to use a family member’s income to qualify to rent as a co-signer. Another option is to rent with friends or possibly your parent or sibling.
Show proof of income for apartment can be easier if you properly prepare all required proof of income documents. A good example to use is the most recent 3 months’ worth of pay stubs form your current employer. If you are employed, this would prove the most effective.
Keep in mind that showing proof of income for apartment does not always have to be this difficult though. It all depends on the type of apartment and the level of income requirement.
As you can see showing proof of income for an apartment is possible if you know how to do it. It’s all about understanding all the pre-qualification factors apartments look for when processing applications ahead of time. Make sure you are organized by keeping all your documentation ready before applying. And most importantly, best wishes with your apartment application process.