How To Make Your Rental Application Stand Out

By Ashley Paskill on April 19, 2023

As a student, you may not have rented an apartment or house before. Now that you are looking to live off-campus, you have to apply for the rentals you want to live in. Just like a job application, you want to be sure that your rental property application stands out. This may seem impossible, especially for your first time renting, but there are still ways to set yourself apart from other applicants!

Highlight your strengths

Even if you have never rented a property before, you likely have some habits and personality traits that you can leverage in your favor. For example, as a student, you likely turn your assignments in on time or you make credit card payments on time if you have a credit card. These things can show that you are willing and able to pay your rent on time. Look at what habits and traits you do have and see how you can showcase them in a way that will show the property manager that you will be a great tenant.

Accurate information

Make sure that the information on your application is as accurate as you can. Triple-check to be sure that your references’ phone numbers and other contact information are accurate so the property manager can check your references. Otherwise, they will have to hunt them down and you run the risk of missing out on the apartment or house. Be sure your other information is accurate as well, especially things like your social security number. Your information is used for things like background and credit checks, and if your information is inaccurate and someone else comes up in the check, this can ruin your chances of getting the property you want.

Image: Andrea Piacquadio via

Correct your credit score

Many landlords use your credit score to make sure you will be able to make rent payments on time. However, if you have errors on your credit score that you did not know about, your chances of getting the property are lowered. Check your credit score using and take the time to correct any errors you notice so that you can improve your credit score and stand out to potential landlords and property managers.

Letters of recommendation

Some landlords may ask for a list of references or even letters of recommendation. Even if they do not ask for these things, you may still decide to include them to help you stand out as a potential tenant and to have others vouch that you will be a good tenant. While many landlords will want previous landlords as references, if this is your first time renting anywhere, be sure to include references and recommendations from those who can speak to your ability to be on time and take responsibility for things. This can be anyone from your employer or professor to someone who managed your dorm room last year. Having people who you know will speak to key personality traits for landlords will help your application stand out. Be sure to check that the contact information for these people is correct and give them enough time to write the letters before you have to submit the application.

Financial information

Most landlords will require you to show pay stubs and bank statements to prove that you have the money to cover rent each month. Ensure that you have enough money in your bank accounts to cover rent and bring the required number of pay stubs. Before you even start applying for rental properties, be sure to get your finances in check so your potential landlord can see that you are financially responsible and can handle making payments on time. Check your accounts to make sure there has not been any fraudulent activity on your account that drained any money you have. If there is, take care of it immediately so that you can ensure you appear financially responsible. If you are in the process of applying when fraudulent activity is detected, alert your potential landlord that you are currently in the process of rectifying the situation.


Landlords will want to see your resume and employment history so they can ensure that you will have a steady income. Make sure your resume is updated and that it showcases that you are a reliable and responsible person. Showcase jobs where you worked for multiple years to show that you are not someone who jumps from place to place. This will help landlords see that you will have a steady income and that you are able to hold a job for the length of a lease. Your employment history is more than just showing your salary. Those who can hold a job for a long length of time are more likely to be able to pay rent each month.

Just like job applications, it is crucial that you make your rental property application stand out as much as you can. Even if it is your first time renting, there are plenty of ways to highlight your strengths and show that you will be a great tenant.

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