Requirements to Rent a House: The Complete Checklist

Understanding the requirements to rent a house can be daunting. Thankfully, with proper planning and research, your approaching move-in date can be quick and easy.

The rental vacancy rate in the U.S. surpasses the homeowner vacancy rate at a 9:2 ratio. While rental areas will vary, you still have room here to make the most out of your income and logistics when it comes to renting. Here are the essential steps you need to take before moving in.

Proof of Income

Often, if not always, you will have to show proof of income to rent a house. You will also have to do so for some apartment complexes as well.

After all, the owner will want to have faith in your ability to afford the place you are renting. One easy way to share your proof of income is by sharing your pay stubs. 

Don’t have your employer’s pay stub handy? can help you find alternative means of proving income. If you’re a business owner or freelancer, you can use to create and manage pay stubs, too.

High Credit Score

While not all renting companies will require you to submit to a credit check, many complexes and landlords still do. A high credit score can often land you credit cards with better rewards and loans with lower interest percentages. Similarly, a high credit score can help you when it comes to renting a house as well.

When it comes to renting a house, a higher credit score may mean that the landlord is more lenient when it comes to your income. For example, a landlord may be most comfortable if you are making 3x the amount of rent. A 3:1 ratio is often seen as a safe one.

However, if you  have a high credit score, your landlord may let you rent their property even if your income is less than 3x the rent amount. Since you have a high credit score, they can still be assured that you will pay them on time.

Rental History

Depending on your current income and credit score, you may be asked to provide your rental history to your to-be landlord. Some landlords even require this from the get-go.

A rental history lists every place you have lived in the past X number of years. It also specifies any landlord names and contact information available. With this, your to-be landlord can contact your previous landlord(s) and receive professional and character references.

A positive reference can help you in particular if you are on the cusp of meeting income or credit score requirements. If your past landlord(s) can vouch for you, your new landlord will be that much more likely to place their trust in you as well.

Move-In Preparation

Congratulations! With enough careful planning and collection of data, you can be ready way before your move-in date to rent a house. Be sure to connect with your new complex and landlord on any additional requirements or proof papers you may need to bring before signing your lease.

While exact forms will vary from landlord to landlord, it’s essential to keep in mind that proof of income is the most widely-used source of truth. For more advice and help in renting your new home, explore the rest of our Sky Five Properties website.