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I am applying an apartment whose management company will do some credit and background checking on me.

  1. The application form asks for my employment information and my monthly income.

    My financial situation changes over years, but in the past year from 2011 summer till 2012 summer, I don't have income, but I did have regular income before that and will again from this fall.

    So I wonder how I should input my income information in the application form?

    Can I simply put some average number over the years?

    Can property management companies actually have the access to my income information?

  2. The form also asks for my bank checking and saving accounts.

    But the balances in my bank accounts are really small. Most of my money has been invested in some bonds and mutual funds.

    So I wonder if they can access the balance information from the bank checking and saving accounts I will provide to them?

Normally how serious is the application for an apartment in U.S. (if needed, in Maryland)? Thanks!

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They can evict you if you lie on the applicaton –  littleadv Jul 20 '12 at 20:08
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They can call the employer to verify, and they could ask for a bank verification letter. They cannot do it without your permission, obviously, but I'm guessing you're giving the permission as part of the application. So yes, they can have access to this information, if they want to verify it. –  littleadv Jul 20 '12 at 20:23
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How about truthfully? –  littleadv Jul 20 '12 at 20:40
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How are you going to pay for the apartment? –  mhoran_psprep Jul 20 '12 at 21:11
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If you have no income how will you pay for the apartment. That is what they are trying –  mhoran_psprep Jul 20 '12 at 22:43

2 Answers 2

Talk to the property manager and explain your situation. They may be more willing to work with you than you think. At the very least they will tell you if you should even bother filling out the application. In most cases they are obligated to do a background and credit check so you will have to provide them with the required information one way or another.

What they are really looking for is your ability to pay the rent. Property managers take a lot more things into consideration than a mortgage company would for a loan. If you have a history of paying on time in the past (a reference from a previous landlord perhaps) and if you show proof of the ability to pay now and in the future they will usually take that into consideration regardless of what the credit check says. It all depends on how motivated they are to fill the rental and how willing they are to take on a potential risk.

Keep in mind property managers don't make money on empty rentals.

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Thanks! That apartment almost never has empty vacancy, but a wishing list. –  Tim Jul 20 '12 at 23:12
    
But the lose a lot if they have to evict somebody for non-payment after a few months. –  mhoran_psprep Jul 21 '12 at 3:36
    
You are probably out of luck then. Find an apartment complex that is more desperate to fill empty units. I wouldn't lease to you based on the information you have provided. Too risky. Remember that can be extremely hard to evict people, so landlords need to be very picky about tenants. –  JohnFx Jul 21 '12 at 18:08
    
@JohnFx: Thanks! Do you think it is both helpful and safe to put down the numbers of my bank checking account, of my brokerage investment/margin account, of my Roth IRA account and of my Treasury Direct account in the apartment application form (see the bottom line "others" of the first page of the form for "Applicant's credit information")? I have most of my money and investment in these accounts. –  Tim Jul 23 '12 at 1:17

In the rental application you are giving them express consent to check up on your credit and employment history for verification, you must be honest with them, if you have had no income for the last say 6 months then you have simply had no income. If you are worried about it, you can supply them with a longer history if it will help your situation, they may also call your employer to see that you will be returning to work or again receiving some sort of income.

But also as stated, talk to the property manager, they can work both ways in either helping or not helping you.

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