When you have finalized a residential property and are looking to move in, you need to apply with a property management company or the landlord directly. Along with this application, you will submit the relevant supporting documents and application fees. So as a law-abiding citizen, you have submitted all the required papers. Now, what next? After this step, all you can do is WAIT!!

Yes, even if you have provided all the necessary documents, all you can do is wait. You have to endure this waiting period for anywhere between 48-72 hours of business hours. In some cases, it could even take up to a week.

However, in this waiting period (that causes you anxiety), some very crucial processes take place. The documents that you submit are used to perform checks on your credit history, your background as a tenant, and your employment history. The property management company or your prospective landlord uses these docs to screen you. The screening will assess your credibility as a tenant. No one wants a tenant who misses rent payments, keeps the apartment disorderly or is a nuisance to neighbors. All this information will go towards accepting or rejecting your tenancy application.

So what is it about these checks that cause the process to take up to three working days? Let us take a closer look.

These checks are performed on the following four parameters

Credit check

This is the most important criteria that will determine your selection for the chosen apartment. Some companies do this check. Getting a candidate’s history is a matter of a few minutes or max an hour. These companies source the information from national databases for credit, and they may also check for eviction history.

A good credit score will automatically increase your chances of being handed over the apartment keys while a poor score will diminish the same. Typically, a credit score of 620 and above is considered desirable by landlords and property managers. However, this score can vary from landlord to landlord or the property management company. A score less than that specified will signal to the landlord that you are a risky renter. A low credit score coupled with a history of late payments is a sure shot indication of your application being turned down.

There could be reasons such as medical bills or student loans etc. However, you can explain to the agency handling your application or the landlord your reasons for a low credit score. You can communicate the improvements you made after finding out your score. Furnish pay stubs and bank statements promptly to gain the confidence of the application processing agency or the landlord.

Background Check

Another critical aspect is to check for a prospective tenant’s background. It is a comprehensive check comprising credit history, eviction, employment, and, most importantly, a criminal background check. The background check will help the landlord or processing agency narrow down the list to serious candidates only. Generating this report takes only some amount of time.

Employment Verification

One of the most time-consuming steps in the application process is obtaining information from your current employer. This information will confirm your employment with the employer and also your income. The landlord or the processing agency will send an employment and salary verification request/form to the employer. Employers, too, will need the applicant’s permission in writing to reveal this information. So after the prospective tenant gives his sign and fills in the details, the form can be sent to the employer. The employer fills the relevant information and sends it back to the agency or landlord. While this may entail a few minutes or an hour, the only hitch is if the employer is out of town or unwell. It may delay the processing of your application by another couple of days.

Rental History

he landlord or the handling agency will obtain information on your past rental statuses. It will comprise information on former addresses, contact details of your former landlords or property managers, delay in rent payments, if any, and evictions. Additionally, this will include your criminal background, credit score, and other data to judge your candidature as a tenant. In the absence of any rental history, pay stubs, tax return stubs, and co-signed leases will suffice.

So this is typically how the process flows. Don’t lose heart if this looks overwhelming. But you should be prepared for delays.

So what are the factors that can lead to delays?

Incomplete information

You are sure you have submitted all the documents. But probably it never occurred to you that you could have missed an important detail. Your application should be filled and also be accompanied by supporting documents and application fees.

Delay from the previous landlord(s)

Previous landlords may not be as prompt in complying with rental history requests. Some respond with great lag while some don’t respond at all. It results in a delay of a few days to a week.

Landlord’s approval

In cases where the applicant is paying lower than the ask-rent, the landlord’s consent is required after the agency processes the approval. Besides, if the landlord is based other than where the property is, or he is overseas or in unsafe locations, they cannot respond immediately, resulting in a delay.

Holiday season

The concerned persons may be on an extended leave. This especially happens during major holidays. It is difficult to reach the concerned people when they are traveling. Also, phone calls mostly go unanswered if at call a call is placed.

Off days

Then, there are the weekends. The agency handling your application will not obtain your credit history on weekends, as they will not be able to complete the verification on a weekend.

Hurried applications

Some applicants try to push applications in the hope that the landlord overlooks a problem in the application. This is usually the result of eviction or foreclosure. They may gain precedence over the applications of the other prospective tenants. It results in a delay in processing the forms of other applicants.

Misplaced paperwork

There could be times when the supporting documents or the application itself may get misplaced. Though such instances are rare, their occurrence cannot be ruled out.

Disorganized apartment management

It is observed that apartment management is inordinately slow in responding to request forms. Also, if you have not informed them as regards the release of information, they will not reveal any information on your rental history.

Time-consuming background and credit checks

Usually, it takes two days. However, there may be a delay if there is a reason for concern. If something suspicious is revealed in the checks, the processing of the application will take time.

Some Important Tips to Get Your Application Approved

If you have not heard from the landlord or the agency within 72 hours, here’s what you can do.

In most cases, an application gets processed in the stipulated time. If you are lucky, it can be approved on the same day itself.

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