How Long Does an Apartment Application Take? (2023)

Submitting a comprehensive apartment rental application may take three business days for approval by your landlord or property manager, but this process can be expedited if you come ready and provide all relevant information and documents upfront.

Landlords and property managers need tenants who will pay rent on time while respecting the home they occupy. Applications provide landlords with important details such as employment history and credit scores that help make this possible.


No matter if it’s your first apartment after living with roommates or transitioning with your partner, finding your new home can be both thrilling and daunting. Planning for all of the expenses related to renting will be one of your key priorities as part of this process.

Calculating how much rent you can afford can be tricky, but understanding your limits will help prevent you from overspending on rent. For help in creating your budget, try Avail or our easy apartment calculator and see which are suitable.

Once you know your budget for renting, it’s time to begin searching! When submitting your rental application, ensure all relevant documentation and information is in order – this will save time in the long run and speed up the approval process of your new apartment.

(Video) the apartment application process: what you should know

Before granting you access to an apartment, your landlord or leasing agent will want to verify your employment status and income. They’ll do this by checking your credit report, rental history and references as well as calling them. Furthermore, if someone is currently renting it they’ll likely wait until that renter vacates first before moving forward with approval of you for that property.

A full background and credit check usually takes about one week to complete for an individual; however, timing will depend on which service you use and how quickly reports can be authorized by both parties involved. Furthermore, co-signers will require their own checks as well.

Once a landlord or leasing agent has reviewed your application and documentation, they will inform you if they’re interested in renting to you or not. However, if any necessary details or documents were missing from your submission, they may need to repeat their screening process and delay approval for an apartment.


Finding an apartment can be a tedious and time-consuming task, demanding energy, time, and money from you. Knowing how long it will take for the application process to finish will help you plan for a timely move-in date and avoid surprises during approval – keeping this information close at hand can make the entire experience simpler!

Delays in apartment approval processes typically stem from incomplete applications. To expedite the approval process and expedite bank statements, employer letters, and landlord references quickly when necessary, it’s crucial that all of your documents are ready before you submit an application. Also handy would be having copies of bank statements, employer letters and landlord reference letters readily available so as to be ready when asked for them quickly.

(Video) How Long it REALLY Took to Get Approved for My First Apartment

Another factor causing delays when renting an apartment could be that the landlord or property manager wants to review information from your application – from verifying income to checking references or conducting criminal background checks – and it can delay things by days, so having all documents ready before applying would be wise.

Landlords and property managers want to find tenants they can rely on to be responsible and pay rent on time, which is why they require credit checks, criminal background checks and landlord reference letters before accepting your application. In some instances they may also request additional paperwork or wish to meet in person before giving their approval.

Some properties, particularly rent-stabilized or income-restricted units, require more intensive approval processes for tenants than others. You will likely be asked for documents such as tax returns and employment verification in order to secure approval – though the extra scrutiny might cause a slight delay during approval; but often this extra step pays off by saving money each month on rent payments.

Once an apartment has been approved, you will need to sign a lease and submit a security deposit. The amount will be discussed between yourself and the landlord prior to moving in – be aware that depending on where it’s located and its amenities this could amount to quite an investment sum! Planning ahead can make life much simpler.

Background Check

Landlords and property managers utilize credit and background checks to evaluate applicants for an apartment lease agreement, determining if they are financially responsible, upstanding citizens with no criminal past and are suitable to live there. These automated processes typically take three business days to complete; in an increasingly competitive market, speed may make or break a deal.

(Video) How long does a background check take for an apartment?

Landlords typically begin their screening process by looking over an applicant’s credit report and rental history, verifying employment and income to make sure that a potential tenant can afford their rent. If their credit score falls short of requirements it could become an impediment to renting from them; otherwise they may need to find co-signers or increase deposits to cover rent payments.

Selecting an acceptable guarantor is also key when renting an apartment, often times family members who agree to assume financial liability if an applicant defaults on rent payments. Criminal convictions could make getting approved difficult; especially those involving violence or sexual assault convictions could make approval impossible.

Landlords look closely at an applicant’s track record of timely payment and their rental history when selecting tenants. Their behavior from years past often holds more weight than current events – landlords want tenants who will treat the property with care and be good neighbors.

Apartment applications often take longer than expected due to mistakes on the part of either the applicant or their representative, such as not submitting all required documents, being unclear on what was included in a previous lease agreement, or failing to adhere to instructions regarding additional information submission.

Credit Check

There is no set timeline when it comes to getting approved for an apartment, though most landlords should inform you about its status within one to three days. A clear, organized application with all required documents will speed up this process; if your landlord is dealing with multiple applications at once it could take longer.

(Video) How to get your apartment application APPROVED!

Landlords want to ensure you can afford your monthly rent payments, so they usually conduct both a credit check and background check on all tenants. While a credit check might take only hours or less to complete, more in-depth investigations may take longer. If applying with cosigner/guarantor this process could take even longer as they need to go through their credit and background checks as well.

Before applying for an apartment, it’s wise to avoid taking on new debt – this could impede your chances of approval because it looks as though you cannot manage additional financial obligations. Furthermore, make sure no legal issues come to the forefront during screening such as an eviction or foreclosure could arise during screening process.

Employer and bank statements provide more information for landlords to make an informed decision on your application, especially in competitive markets where a compelling cover letter can help separate you from other applicants.

Though no single step can guarantee to speed up the application process for an apartment rental, taking all these steps will make the application process smoother for both yourself and the landlord. A thorough application should allow landlords to review it quickly and approve you within days if all criteria have been fulfilled; otherwise it might be helpful to send an email or call to check up on its status or assess why there hasn’t been any response so far.


What's the longest an apartment application can take? ›

Getting approved for an apartment takes between 1 to 3 business days. One of the best ways to speed up the process and impress your new landlord is to come prepared so you can quickly submit a completed rental application with all the supporting documents.

How long do most rental applications take? ›

In general, it will take one to three days for a potential landlord or property manager to approve your rental application—but you can speed things up by being extra prepared.

How long should I wait before following up on an apartment application? ›

It is always a good idea to end the showing on a positive note. So after you have filled out the application, given the copies of pay stubs, your photo ID and credit report if you have it, to the landlord. Then it's a great idea so follow-up with a little note or text message about an hour or two after the showing.

What credit score is needed for an apartment? ›

While there's no universally required credit score needed to rent an apartment, having a solid credit score can certainly help your chances of a landlord handing you a set of keys. In general, a landlord will look for a credit score that is at least “good,” which is generally in the range of 670 to 739.

Is it hard to get approved for an apartment NYC? ›

Most New York City landlords are looking for a minimum credit score in the 650 to 700 range. If you don't have established credit or have a low score, you can provide a guarantor on your application. This individual agrees to pay your rent if you are unable to do so.

How do I get help paying rent in Los Angeles? ›

or call (833) 223-Rent (7368). The federal government gave money to the State, Los Angeles County and individual cities for rental assistance.

How do you say you're interested in an apartment? ›

My name is and I am very interested in renting the apartment you have available at . I currently live at and have lived there for years. I am looking for a new place to live because . I really like your apartment because .

What's the lowest credit score to rent an apartment? ›

There's no set minimum credit score to rent an apartment, but you'll have the best luck with a score approaching 670. This score is considered “good” according to FICO scoring models. A score lower than 620 could make renting more difficult.

What is a good rent score? ›

When you apply to rent an apartment, you can expect nearly all landlords to run a credit check. As a general rule, you'll want a credit score of 620 or higher to secure a rental.

Does renting an apartment build credit? ›

If you regularly pay your rent on time and in full, you can have your good payment history reported to credit bureaus to help raise your credit score through a rent-reporting service.

Why is apartment hunting so difficult? ›

Lower Supply, Higher Demand

A lower supply of new properties and increased demand for rental units also results in increased rental costs. This means that fewer people can afford the monthly apartment rent, making it hard for average earners to find an apartment.

What is the minimum credit to rent in NYC? ›

In NYC, your ideal credit score will be at least 700 if you're seeking a rental property. However, times are tough for everyone, and there are many people whose credit score absolutely doesn't look like that. You can check your credit score for free at and go from there.

How long does it take Section 8 to approve an apartment NYC? ›

1-O, New York, NY 10038, Attn: Section 8 Portability Unit. Once you have completed the Portability Request form, HPD will conduct a review to determine if you are eligible to move. The process can take up to 14 calendar days.

How to get emergency housing voucher Los Angeles? ›

The Emergency Housing Vouchers are administered through a direct referral process. Local Housing Authorities are working with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) to obtain referrals. If you think you are eligible for the program, please contact a Coordinated Entry System Access Center in your region.

What are the new rent laws in California 2023? ›

Rent Control Laws

According to the AB-1482 from the California Tenant Protection Act), any rent increase is capped at 5% plus inflation or 10% of the lowest price paid in the last 12 months. These laws started in January 2020, and it's expected to last until January 2030. You can read more about this measure here.

What is the LAPD rent subsidy? ›

The LAPD has a new perk to help them recruit officers — help with paying the rent. The "Housing for Hires" program is offering subsidies of up to $24,000 for housing in the City of Los Angeles for up to two years for new LAPD hires.

Why apartment applications ask for your checking account number? ›

It's perfectly normal for a landlord or property manager to ask for your bank account number on a rental application. This helps them verify that you actually have a bank account and you're able to cover the rent. They may also use your bank account to extract missing rent payments.

How do you politely ask for rent? ›

Five Creative Ways To Ask For Your Rent Payment
  1. Offer An Alternative Payment Method. ...
  2. Set Up A New Collection Date (And Stick To It) ...
  3. Sit-Down Conversation. ...
  4. Set Up Rental Payment Reminders. ...
  5. Offer A Prompt Payment Discount.
Nov 26, 2019

What do you say in an application for an apartment? ›

But all rental applications should cover the following complete information.
  1. Personal and contact information. ...
  2. Apartment information. ...
  3. Employment history. ...
  4. Rental history. ...
  5. References. ...
  6. Extra details. ...
  7. Credit and background check permission request. ...
  8. Bank information for the application fee.
Nov 18, 2022

Can I get an apartment with a 480 credit score? ›

The simple answer is yes. You can rent an apartment even if you have bad credit, but you may need to do some extra work to convince the landlord to accept you as a tenant. Another option is to look for apartment rentals that do not require a credit check at all.

Is a 500 credit score bad for apartment? ›

A credit score of 500 is low, but it's not insurmountable. It would be best if you planned some extra time for your apartment hunt with scores this low, but you can still rent an apartment. It will take some extra planning, though.

What is a bad credit score? ›

A bad credit score is a FICO credit score below 670 and a VantageScore lower than 661. If your credit isn't where you would like it to be, remember that a bad credit score doesn't have to weigh you down. Fortunately, you can take simple steps to improve your credit, and you might even see results quickly.

How accurate is credit karma? ›

Here's the short answer: The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major consumer credit bureaus. The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma should accurately reflect your credit information as reported by those bureaus.

Does credit card debt affect renting? ›

Landlords use credit reports, credit scores or a combination of the two when making rental decisions. Credit card debt can drag down your score if you're using more than 30 percent of your available credit, and landlords may investigate your credit report to find out how you're using credit.

How fast can you build credit? ›

It usually takes a minimum of six months to generate your first credit score. Establishing good or excellent credit takes longer. If you follow the tips above for building good credit and avoid the potential pitfalls, your score should continue to improve.

What bills help build credit? ›

What Bills Help Build Credit?
  • Rent Payments. Before property management platforms, renters were unable to report rent payments to credit bureaus to build their credit health. ...
  • Utility Bills. ...
  • Auto Loan Payments. ...
  • Student Loan Payments. ...
  • Credit Card Payments. ...
  • Medical Bills.
Nov 28, 2022

Do utilities affect credit score? ›

With rent, phone bills, electric bills, and other utilities, on-time payments or one late payment won't make any difference to your credit score, because they're not considered credit accounts by the three major credit bureaus.

Does paying a phone bill build credit? ›

Unlike your mortgage or car payments, paying your cell phone bill regularly each month alone will not help increase your credit score. Typically, cellphone providers don't report your payments to the bureaus—though newer services like Experian Boost can help you manually add it.

Should you call to follow up on an apartment application? ›

You should hear back about the status of your application within 3 business days. Regardless of the outcome of your application process, the landlord should contact you with their decision. If you do not hear back, you should follow up by calling or emailing the landlord or property manager.

How do you follow up with prospective tenants? ›

The best thing you can do is while you are showing the rental, talk to them about the best time to follow up. You'll have way more success if you do it on their timeline. If you haven't established a timeline, you should follow up right away Then if you do not hear back wait a few 3-5 business days and follow up again.

How do you tell an applicant they didn't get the apartment? ›

However, if you haven't yet rented the unit, you can say: “We're sorry, but we've decided not to move forward with your application. Thank you for your interest.” Many landlords wonder if they have to provide their prospective tenants a reason for the rejection.

What makes me a great tenant response? ›

Respectful Behavior

Pay rent on time. Follow lease terms. Refrain from causing problems with other tenants or neighbors. Keep from damaging your property beyond normal wear and tear.

What should I ask for from a potential tenant? ›

Top Tenant Screening Questions
  • What date would you like to move in?
  • Do you have pets?
  • How long have you lived in your current home?
  • Why are you moving?
  • How many people will be living in the unit?
  • How many people living with you smoke?
  • What is your monthly income?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a relevant crime?
Jan 30, 2019

How do you follow up with an apartment lead? ›

20 Creative Ways to Follow Up With Apartment Rental Leads
  6. AI CHATBOTS. ...


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