10 Things That Can Disqualify You from Renting Apartments

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If you’re apartment searching and worried about getting your application approved, some factors can disqualify you from renting. Apartment applications can be challenging with varying leasing guidelines and multiple properties having their own policies in addition to state or local ordinances.

Below are 10 things that may cause a rental application denial and ways to improve your chances of approval.

What Can Disqualify You From Renting an Apartment?

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Apartment seekers commonly ask, “Why was my rental application denied?” during their search. Here are 10 common reasons why.

*Please note that rental disqualifications may vary from each state, county, city, or owner. Always check your local ordinances or contact the property before applying.


1. Insufficient Income

A top reason a landlord may disqualify you from renting is insufficient income. Tenants new to renting or getting paid in cash must also show proof of income. While some property managers may accept cash, consider cosigning your apartment or providing employer letters to lower your chances of denial.

2. Criminal Records

Apartment rental applications conduct background checks, and depending on your criminal charge(s), it may disqualify you from renting.

So, what charges can stop you from getting an apartment? Depending on where you live and the leasing policies of the particular property, minor arrests may be an exception. However, a violent criminal history often leads to disqualification from renting– such as drug-related evictions, burglary, and murder felonies.

While people with arrest and conviction records have housing rights, a screening process will likely proceed, including sponsors, personal letters, and references.

3. Negative or No References

If your prior landlord had a negative experience with you, such as late rent, your application may not be accepted. A lack of references may also worry a landlord about your ability to maintain their property.

4. Bad or Insufficient Credit History

Most apartment applications require a minimum 650 credit score. If landlords find poor credit scores during a credit check, they’ll typically ask for a cosigner or deny you based on credit history.

5. Evictions

Eviction is a primary cause for a rental application denial. Landlords can find this by contacting your prior landlord or running an eviction report.

6. Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy from job loss or pandemic-related is typically accepted and only requires supportive bank statements or reference letters. However, if you’ve shown no credit score improvements since, you may be denied.

7. Suspicious Gaps in Rental History

Rental history gaps are suspicious to landlords as some tenants omit information, like prior evictions, unless it was for valid reasons, like living with family or previously owning a home.

8. Rental Application Errors

Human error is inevitable. You may have accidentally misspelled your name, DOB, or social security number during the application form- which can be easily corrected if caught in time. But if you’re dishonest in your rental application with histories such as criminal convictions, you will be disqualified from renting.

9. Apartment Overcrowding

Some apartment buildings have occupancy limits to prevent overcrowding and property damage. Landlords may deny rental applications if you have more than two adult occupants per room.

10. Pets

Pet policies are subject to leasing guidelines or the landlord’s discretion. The number of pets and pet sizes may have exceptions.


TLC properties are pet-friendly, so we highly encourage you to see which location works for you and your furry friend, here!


How to Improve Your Chances of Apartment Application Approval

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Don’t get discouraged from potential disqualifications. Tenants have housing rights, and there are ways to reduce your odds of getting denied for an apartment:

• Get a Cosigner

A cosigner can strengthen your rental application from insufficient income and some credit concerns if they have a strong credit score and a clean financial record.

• Maintain Your Credit

Maintaining a minimum debt-to-income ratio below 30% can build your credit score and application approval chances.

• Gather Good References

Gather previous rental references where you paid on time and left the property in move-in condition to build your rental reputation.

• Understand Your Budget

A budget will significantly help you understand which apartments you can afford and select the right ones. Learn what you can afford in Chicago here.

• Read All Rental Guidelines

Each county, state, or property may have different rental guidelines. Your intended leasing agent might be able to help clarify policy qualifications.


TLC Has Apartments for You In and Around Chicago!

At TLC, we have over 36 different properties, each with modern amenities for luxury city or suburban Chicago living. We’re happy to consider applicants who can provide further information whenever possible.

Search apartment rentals or contact us at info@chicagorentals.com for more information.



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