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How Do I Qualify to Lease a Single-Family Home?

Landlords look for tenants who can pay their rent on time and take good care of a home. In order to determine whether you’re a good rental candidate, you’ll be asked to prove your income and rental history. You’ll also be the subject of consumer and criminal backgrounds checks.

Each property management company or individual landlord will have their own application process. You might qualify for one home and not another owned or managed by the same person or company. Ask the landlord about specific items that might stop your application.

To avoid disqualification, spend some time getting prepared before you apply for a rental home. Follow these recommendations to streamline your experience:

Know what rental amount you can afford. Start by being realistic about your finances and budget. Take into consideration that a single-family home might require you to pay for lawn maintenance and ongoing indoor and outdoor cleaning costs.

Clean up your credit report. A large amount of debt and a history of missed payments are signs that identify you as someone who might not be able to pay their rent on time. A foreclosure, recent bankruptcy, or judgement might require a larger security deposit upfront, or in some cases disqualify you.

Keep track of income documentation. Applicants are usually required to provide paystubs for at least 2 or more months of employment. The documents must include year-to-date income totals. Before filling out the application, check with the property manager or landlord to find out how much income you need to make to qualify. If you’re self-employed, copies of your tax return may be required. Retired persons may have other documents they need to supply to complete the verification process.

List everyone on the application who will be living in the home. You can be evicted for having unauthorized people living in a rental home. If a person’s name is not on the lease, but they are living in the home you’ve rented, they are there illegally. Everyone on the lease must complete an application and qualify to be in the home.

Maintain a list of personal and landlord references. Landlords are looking for people of good character to live in their rental properties. You’ll be asked for contact information such as phone numbers and addresses. Why not keep everything current so you don’t have to go hunting for the data at the last minute?

Be prepared to pay application fees. It’s common to pay an application fee to cover a background and credit report. You’ll need to pay this right away. You may also need to pay a deposit amount to hold the property off the market while your application is being processed.

Find out what might disqualify you. Most property management companies will post details about the qualification requirements for their homes. If you have questions, call and ask for more information before applying.

Applying For A Home
5 Common Lease Requirements for Renters

Renting a single-family home will require a complete application and the ability to meet the homeowner’s tenant qualifications. Homes are financial investments for the owner and consequently owners want tenants who will take good care of a property. The only way to establish whether a person is a good potential tenant is to delve into their history.

Whether you’re working with a property management company or directly with a homeowner, the rental application process is likely to involve these items:

  • Credit Check - Applicants who pay their bills on time usually fly right through this requirement. It makes sense that a landlord will want to make sure you make enough money to pay your rent on time. An unresolved or ongoing financial situation, including a series of late payments or a personal bankruptcy, can disqualify you.
  • Criminal Background Checks - A history of violent behavior or child abuse can disqualify an applicant. Pending court cases and past convictions may also cause an applicant to be disqualified.
  • Rental History Verification - Previous landlords are contacted and asked about the applicant’s rental history. Information about whether or not rent was paid on time, a tenant’s behavior, the duration of the former lease and the cost of monthly rent paid can be requested.
  • Income Verification - Current income information may be requested to establish the ability to pay your rent. You’ll probably be asked to provide your last three months of payment stubs or invoices.
  • Security Deposit - Property management companies and homeowners who manage their own rental properties will ask you for a security deposit during the lease signing process. Security deposits are usually equal to a month’s rent. You may be asked to pay more if your rental or financial history doesn’t meet the lease requirements.

Keep in mind when renting a home that you’re accepting responsibility for its upkeep during your tenancy. A rental application is typically required of each adult living in a home. Businesses renting family homes may be asked for additional information and deposits.

Just for Tenants
What Do Coffee, Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Hydrogen Peroxide Have in Common?

green home cleaning

These things may sound unrelated, but each of these items can be used to keep a home smelling fresh without the chemical smell we’ve come to associate with cleaning.

Home cleaning products that have a strong chemical smell or have added fragrance can be dangerous for your health. According to testing conducted by the University of Washington in Seattle, many cleaning and freshening products on the market contain VOCs – volatile organic compounds. These compounds can be considered toxic or hazardous by US federal law

The study team tested 25 common products, including air fresheners, all-purpose cleaners, dish detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and laundry detergents.


You can get your home clean without using store bought products that release VOCs. In fact, you want to give this a try if you have family members with allergies and chemical sensitivities.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can help eliminate odors in the refrigerator and the garbage disposal for starters. Arm and Hammer has some great ideas for cleaning your home with baking soda. 

  • Place baking soda in a small bowl or open container at put the bowl inside at the back of your fridge. Replace every 10 -14 days.
  • Use baking soda in the garbage disposal. Place several spoonfuls of baking soda into the disposal. Run the disposal.


If you love the smell of freshly brewed coffee, how about using freshly ground coffee to freshen up the smell in closets and tight spaces?  Fill a sock or muslin bag with a great smelling ground coffee and then hang the sock/bag in a closet. It will help eliminate that odd stale air smell.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Spray and wipe down grout and countertop crevices with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid of mildew. Hydrogen Peroxide is inexpensive and can be found at drug stores and grocery stores. This is the same ingredient used in many teeth whitening products, so make sure you aren’t wearing your favorite shirt when you apply this.

White Vinegar

This is your workhorse alternative to store bought cleaning products. Vinegar can kill bacteria and it’s what many of our grandparents and great grandparent used to get their homes clean. This article from the Better Homes & Gardens website outlines numerous ways to use white vinegar to remove dirty messes and smells.

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  • How Do I Qualify to Lease a Single-Family Home?
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  • What Do Coffee, Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Hydrogen Peroxide Have in Common?
  • Renter's Safety Tips for Single-Family Home Rentals - Infographic
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