Learn How To Fill Out Your San Francisco Rental Application Form

Posted in: Finding a Home

Written by: Michael Vaughan

According to recent statistics, almost 110 million Americans don’t own their home. Since renting is particularly popular in California, learning how to fill out a San Francisco rental application form will undoubtedly help you land almost any apartment you want. Take a look at the data you’ll need to provide and some things to look after when applying.

If you want to maximize your chances of getting the place you want, you’ll have to carefully fill out the entire form and find any spots that might need some improvements. Tidying up all the details before applying will make the screening much quicker, meaning you should start looking for some San Francisco movers in the Bay Area right away.

How Do You Get Approved for a Rental?

Gathering all the necessary documents before applying is the simplest way to get your SF rent application approved. This is especially crucial for those that want to move efficiently, as these files are some of the most commonly forgotten things to pack. Finding a perfect home in one of the top Bay Area towns will likely take some time, which makes it even more frustrating to lose it only because you failed to provide all the documents quickly enough. To avoid any inconveniences, make sure you’ve added the following files to your moving to-do list:

  • Personal data,
  • Good renting references,
  • Proof of stable income,
  • Employment details,
  • Additional information,
  • Cover letter.

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Why Would a Rental Application Be Denied?

If you’re wondering, “why can’t I get approved for a rental property?”, it’s possible that you’ve missed something when filling out the paperwork. Incomplete applications are often discarded immediately, especially if they failed to provide the essential data. Most landlords use various resources when screening tenants, so it’s best to avoid adding inaccurate information. Sometimes even a simple error is enough to discredit you from further selection, so be very careful with what you enter in the form. If you want to learn more, the sections below cover the most common deal-breakers in much greater detail.

 A person approving a document
Avoid getting disqualified right away by checking all the details

Start By Entering Your Personal Information

Once you download the appropriate form, you’ll immediately see that personal information is the first thing you’ll need to enter. This data is necessary for confirming the applicant’s identity, meaning that all applicants must enter it before proceeding to other sections. In fact, you’ll be legally required to write down the following details:

  • First name, middle initials, last name,
  • Social security number (SSN),
  • Phone number and the best time to reach,
  • Email address,
  • Driver’s license number, state it was issued, and expiration date.

Remember that you’ll need to sign the document to give the proprietor permission to use the data during the screening.

Is There Anything Tenants Shouldn’t Add to Their San Francisco Rental Application?

Are you aware that your tenant rights protect you from various forms of discrimination? Under the 1968 Fair Housing Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), all homeowners are prevented from requesting details not necessary for the identification. This means that unless you have active criminal charges, any data you entered can’t be used against you in the screening process. You will also never be asked to list the following details:

  • Immigration status and citizenship,
  • Race, skin color, ancestry, nationality, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical conditions, disabilities, source of income,
  • Anything regarding underage household members.
 A person going through file folders
You’ll likely have to go through some of your old paperwork to find all the details you need

For a Few References That Can Verify Your Previous Renting History

Finding references is no staycation in San Francisco for sure. Otherwise, everyone would have at least a few. Securing a great reference from a reputable source will undoubtedly help you with the selection. Your employer, colleagues, or the building manager are all perfect candidates, so ask them politely to write you a recommendation letter. Some owners will request to contact the referees directly, so give them a heads up about the potential call.

A Landlord’s Reference Can Significantly Impact Your Chances in Both a Good and a Bad Way

Having the previous landlord’s approval will go a long way in making an applicant seem like a perfect candidate. However, depending on how you ended your previous tenancy, it can also have the complete opposite effect. If you failed to clean your last place after throwing a great going away party, your former landlord could leave a very negative reference.

Leaving behind some items movers won’t move also sends a bad impression. Despite the resources coming out of your security deposit, the owner would have to pay for professionals to remove them, which is just another inconvenience. Last but not least, failing to pay rent makes the selection significantly more difficult for you, no matter how better your current situation might be. Fortunately, there’s a loophole around this, but more on that in the next section.

A woman talking on the phone while the man points at the laptop
Calling your former landlords and asking them for a reference can significantly increase your chances

Employment and Financial History Are Some of the Most Important Parts of the San Francisco Rental Application

To assess whether you can afford to pay the rent or not, you will always be required to provide details regarding your work experience. Most of the time, you’ll need to list every employer you had in the last five years, the duration of your employment, and all the additional contact information for each of them. While having many work references is not necessarily bad, it may give off a signal that you can’t keep a job for too long. Recurring unemployed periods are also a red flag for any landlord, as they’ll immediately see them as a sign that you won’t be able to meet your payment deadlines. When applying, make sure that you’re working in your current position for at least six months.

You’ll also need to mention if you’ve ever had to file for bankruptcy. Although this may impact your chances, it’s not necessarily a breaking point in the selection. If it didn’t happen in the last seven years, and there are good reasons behind it, it’s much better to mention it earlier than to have it come up later. Maybe you were a victim of the economic recession or fell prey to a scam by a fraudulent Bay Area moving company that left you without most of your belongings. Still, you should be good to go if your current financial situation holds up and there are no problems in other areas.

Having a Good Credit Score Is a Must, but You Can Also Get a Guarantor to Vouch for You

Since you’ll provide your social security number, the proprietor will always check your credit score to see if you will pay your rent on time. Owners face greater financial risks when renting out their property to first-time applicants and people with worse than average scores, meaning these individuals have a significantly smaller chance of getting further in the selection.

Thankfully, having a guarantor adds credibility to an applicant, allowing them to get the place they otherwise would not be able to. This person will be responsible for covering all of the renter’s expenses in case they fail to pay them on time. Most importantly, anyone aged 21 with a separate bank account and an excellent credit score can be a guarantor, meaning it can be your friend, a family member, or even a hired professional. Take a look at this short video explaining how to find and secure a guarantor quickly.

Avoid Applying for Rentals That Exceed Your Current Resources

Applying for a lease without sufficient resources is one of the first things that will stop you from continuing the screening process. Many of the best places to live in the Bay Area are known for their high cost of living, so you’ll need to have some excellent annual earnings if you’re planning to move here. Usually, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. Going any higher will leave you with insufficient resources for food and other expenses like utilities and transportation. Unless you don’t mind getting rejected time and time again, It’s always better to avoid any rentals that you can’t afford. Otherwise, be prepared to go through a lot of moving stress.

 A sad man sitting in a car
Applying for a place that’s clearly way over your budget will only leave you feeling disappointed

The Landlord Will Want to Know if the Tenant Plans to Have Roommates

Most landlords will want to know if you’ll be sharing the unit with someone. State laws regulate how many people can fit into an apartment of a certain size, limiting the actual number of roommates you can have. This is known as the “2+1” rule, meaning that a two-bedroom apartment can be occupied by five people, or two people per bedroom and one extra person.

Another thing to look into when moving in with someone is that whoever’s the primary tenant will have to enter the name of all other roommates and their relations. Sometimes, these people will need to go through a screening of their own, which is common practice when each tenant is billed separately.

Many Apartments Will Offer Additional Fees for Pets

If you’re planning on moving with pets, you will once again have to notify the landlord. Some buildings have a strict no-pet policy, which would automatically disqualify any applicant that filled out this section. In most other cases, you will be charged an additional pet rent and an increased deposit, which serve to cover all the damage that could potentially occur during your tenancy.

You will be required to write down the pet’s breed, age, size, sex, spayed/neutered status, as well as a confirmation that you’re willing to sign a Pet Agreement and pay the additional Pet Deposit. Since this could easily make an otherwise affordable place somewhat more expensive, make sure that your relocation expenses checklist can handle this price increase.

A cat and a dog cuddling
You should never relocate with pets without previously stating it in writing

Check Out the Apartment in Person Before Signing the Form

Even if you’re relocating to one of the top neighborhoods in the entire region, you should always check out the place before submitting your rental application in San Francisco. All the properties are rented as they are, so make sure you ask any questions you might have before applying. In fact, landlords can’t proceed with the screening before potential tenants see the place in person. Once you’re confident that you’ve found your new home, also remember to contact one of the San Francisco moving companies in the Bay Area and book a move.

A realtor showing a house to a man and a woman
The selection can’t continue if the applicants haven’t had a chance to explore the premises

Go Through Some Additional Details Just in Case

The form will also require you to add some details regarding your personal history and habits that might decide whether or not you’re the perfect candidate for that particular unit. These may include questions like:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • Do you smoke currently?
  • Have you ever been evicted?

You will also need to enter things like your emergency contact information, vehicle data such as license plate numbers.

Every Tenant Should Finish the Screening by Leaving a Cover Letter

Last but not least, you should add a personal statement at the end of the form that you think the owner should know about you. Although this might feel similar to writing a recommendation letter in college, stating the benefits of having you as a tenant might position you ahead of other applicants. You might not even be the right person for the unit, but it only matters that the proprietor believes you are.

happy girl sitting next to a laptop
Writing an excellent personal statement will bring you one step closer to getting approved

Consider Booking Some of the Local Movers in the Bay Area Even Before Submitting the Applications

If your financial background checks up and you carefully fill out the forms before applying, there’s no reason to doubt that at least one of your applications is going to be selected. This means that you can start looking for a moving company in the Bay Area even before getting the results, allowing you to book the best movers in San Francisco well in advance.

While relocation hacks are there to make the process simpler, nothing beats Golden Bay Relocation at moving. Our Bay Area movers can help you with both residential moves as well as commercial relocations, all while providing you with some of the best packing and moving services. If you need someone to pack fragile items or even move a piano, remember that you can always contact our representatives and get a free quote from one of the top Bay Area moving companies.

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Michael Vaughan
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