Rental Resume: 10 Must-Have Sections to Wow Landlords

Learn how to create a renter resume that will showcase your qualifications and improve your chances of approval.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
December 25, 2023
Rental Resume: 10 Must-Have Sections to Wow Landlords

Feeling frustrated searching for your next great rental? What if you could confidently rise above the competition? Crafting a compelling rental resume can help make that possible.

This practical document highlights applicants in the best light — conveying responsibility, financial diligence, and previous landlord endorsements. A rental resume can capture the attention of property managers and make you the top contender for your dream apartment. In essence, rental resumes demonstrate that you would be an ideal tenant worth meeting.

In this article, we'll guide you through creating a resume that conveniently showcases why landlords should select you out of a stack of applications. It's time to separate yourself from the rental applicant herd.

Why do I need a rental resume?

If you're apartment hunting in a competitive market, finding the perfect apartment can be particularly challenging. Submitting a rental resume gives you an advantage — it shows the property manager that you're serious about renting their property.

Furthermore, a rental resume lays out why you'd be the perfect tenant. It quickly shows landlords important information like your references, job history, credit score, and rental history. In the search for a reliable and responsible tenant, a rental resume makes landlords' decisions easier.

Having a resume also makes the rental application process faster for both you and the landlord. It allows landlords to review your qualifications easily instead of having to look up or ask you for more information.

When to create a renter resume

Let's explore a few common situations where creating a resume can strengthen your rental application.

Inconsistent rental or job history

If you've moved a lot or frequently changed jobs, a renter's resume can help paint a more comprehensive picture of your qualifications. It allows you to highlight stable sources of income, strong references, and any other relevant information that showcases your reliability as a tenant.

No rental history

For first-time renters or those who don't have a rental history, a renter resume is an excellent tool to compensate for the lack of past renting experience.

You can provide potential landlords with an understanding of your character, responsibility, and ability to meet your financial obligations by including details about your employment history, education, personal references, and any other relevant information.

Competitive market

In a highly competitive rental market, creating a renter resume can give you a competitive edge. A lot of people don't include resumes with their rental applications, so adding one helps your application stand out from the pile.

The goal is to give the landlord or property manager clarity on how good of a fit you are for the apartment. This thoughtful, personalized approach conveys genuine interest in finding the right long-term rental match over merely applying for any property with vacancies.

What to include in your renter resume

To create your renter resume, here are key sections you should include that help landlords understand your rental history and fit as a potential tenant.

1. Contact information

Start with your basic contact information so that landlords or property managers can easily reach you. This should be at the top of your resume.

Include your full name, phone number, and email address. You can also include your current address if you feel comfortable doing so.

Make sure that the contact information you provide is accurate and up to date, as any mistake could lead to missed opportunities or delays in communication.

2. Objective

Write a short objective statement. It should summarize your housing goals and what you're looking for in a rental property.

Briefly highlight your preferences, such as the type of property you are seeking, whether it's an apartment or a house, your desired neighborhood, and any other specific criteria that are important to you, such as pet-friendliness, amenities, or proximity to public transportation.

Keep it focused and tailored to each application to help landlords understand if their property aligns with your needs.

3. Background

Provide a short overview of your background by mentioning your education, degrees, and certifications. Highlight key roles or experiences that demonstrate your stability and responsibility.

Include relevant interests and hobbies, but keep a balance between providing enough information and avoiding excessive personal details.

4. Rental history

Provide your rental history, starting with your most recent experiences and working your way back. Include the names of the landlords of your previous rental properties or property management companies, along with their contact details for verification.

Mention the dates of your tenancy, including start and end dates, the addresses of the rental properties or past apartments, and briefly explain the reasons for leaving each property.

Summarize your experience as a tenant, highlighting that you are a person who will pay rent on time, adhere to lease terms, and be responsible for maintenance. It helps to enhance your credibility as a reliable tenant.

5. Work or educational history

You can demonstrate your stability and financial capability with your past work or academic experiences. Begin by listing your previous jobs and schools attended. For each position or institution, provide official names and up-to-date contact information.

For work entries, include your formal job title as well as a brief description of your core roles and duties. Do the same for education, including your major area(s) of study.

Be sure to note the start and end dates for each job and/or enrolled academic program. This concrete timeline proves consistency and commitment over the long run.

Lastly, spotlight standout areas that emphasize valuable skills and achievements. Maybe you drastically boosted sales numbers in a previous sales role, or perhaps you made the dean's list for academic excellence last semester. Choose career and academic highlights that show you are driven, dependable, and likely to succeed.

6. Credit report

Including a copy of your credit report provides landlords with valuable information about your financial history and responsibility. It helps demonstrate your ability to manage your finances and make timely payments, giving them confidence in your reliability as a tenant.

7. References

References provide valuable insights into your character, reliability, and ability as a tenant. Including a mix of personal and professional contacts is ideal. For each reference, provide their full names, titles or relationships, and contact information. 

Make sure to obtain their permission before including their details. Choose references who can confidently speak about your qualities as a responsible tenant. Keep a professional tone and avoid overly personal references. Use this section strategically to enhance your credibility as a tenant.

8. Explanatory letter

If there are negative items or complex situations in your credit history that could worry landlords, adding an explanation letter to your rental resume can help.

Use the letter to describe any past financial struggles or credit report problems you now have under control. For example, detail a period of job loss followed by getting back on your feet. If you had an illness that led to late payments, make it clear that you now have payment plans in place.

The key is owning past issues and outlining the positive steps you've taken more recently to get your finances back in good standing. For instance, note if you now have a reliable income or budget better. Proof of financial responsibility helps most.

Keep explanations concise while emphasizing lessons you've learned. Convince landlords you now have the capacity to make consistent, on-time rental payments, even if previous issues might suggest otherwise on the surface.

9. Proof of legal status

If you are not a citizen of the country in which you're seeking a rental property, include proof of your legal status.

This could include a copy of your visa, work permit, or any other relevant documentation that confirms your eligibility to live in the country legally. Providing this documentation helps landlords confirm that you have the proper authorization to rent a property.

10. Additional documentation

Depending on your specific situation, there may be additional documents that can strengthen your renter's resume.

For example, if you have pets, you may want to include documentation such as pet records, vaccination certificates, or letters of reference from previous landlords regarding your responsible pet ownership.

If you have a stable source of income, you can provide recent pay stubs or employment contracts to verify your financial stability.

Draft a perfect rental resume

Here's a template covering the key sections your rental resume should have to help you draft an impressive, memorable document that convinces landlords you are the ideal tenant:

Customize for each property

Tailor your rental resume for each property you apply to. Take the time to research the property's specific requirements, preferences, and amenities, and highlight how your qualifications align with them.

Customizing your resume demonstrates your genuine interest and attention to detail and helps to make a strong impression on potential landlords.

Be concise

Keep your rental resume concise and to the point. Limit it to one or two pages, focusing on the most relevant information. Bullet points and short sentences are best to explain your qualifications effectively.

Landlords often receive numerous applications — make it easy for them to quickly grasp your strengths and suitability as a tenant.

Use a professional format

Use a professional and clean format for your rental resume. Choose an easy-to-read font, such as Arial or Calibri, and maintain consistent formatting throughout the document. Consider using headings, subheadings, and bold text to organize and highlight important sections.

Emphasize your strengths

Focus on your strengths and unique qualities that make you an ideal tenant. Showcase any relevant skills, experiences, or certifications that set you apart from other applicants. If you have a strong rental history, emphasize your positive track record as a responsible, reliable tenant.

Renter resume

Building a rental resume lets you present your qualifications beyond what a basic application covers. Including key details and references in one place can increase your chances of getting the rental you want.

Use the resume to highlight your reliability, responsibility, and fit as a tenant. Make it easy for property managers to skim through it by being concise and organized. List important things like your background, references, and proof of income. Finally, don't forget to double-check everything before sending.

Having your rental resume ready to provide in the rental application process helps demonstrate to landlords why you would make an excellent resident. It can give you the needed confidence as you search for your ideal new rental home or apartment.

Rental resume FAQs

What are the common mistakes to avoid when creating a rental resume?

Some common mistakes to avoid include providing inaccurate or incomplete information, using an unprofessional format, including irrelevant details, and neglecting to proofread for errors.

How soon should I submit my rental resume after viewing a property?

Submit your rental resume as soon as possible after viewing a property — it demonstrates your promptness and enthusiasm for the property. Just be sure to read and follow any specific instructions provided by the landlord or property manager regarding application timelines.

What do you say when following up on a rental application?

To follow up on a rental application, politely ask about that status, re-emphasize your interest in the rental, and ask if the landlord needs further information.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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