Lease Documents Explained
Leasing and buying differ in one key aspect - the continuing relationship between the the two principals. That being the tenant and landlord relationship. When you buy the a home, your buyer/seller relationship ends when the escrow for that purchase closes. When you lease a home, the landlord/tenant relationship continues until the lease agreement terminates.
It’s best to start the tenant/landlord relationship on right foot. Getting the right paperwork in the proper order to the landlord is essential for the landlord to get you know you as a person and not just a tenant. The Lease Info section of my website has a PDF titled “Lease Documents Needed”. I’ll review that documents list here.
Lease Application - It seems daunting but is really isn’t. Each person over the age of 18 needs to fill out a separate application. Please make sure to fill it out in detail including contact phone numbers for past landlords and employers. You don’t need to fill out the Credit Information on the second page, since that will be covered by the credit report.
Credit Report - It’s vital to get a full credit report for each adult applying on the lease. The full report also needs to include all three credit scores. My personal choice for a vendor in obtaining a credit report is Experian. Experian has a nice clean and easy to read format. There is a sample credit report from Experian in the Lease Info section of my site.
Paystubs - The paystubs should comprise the most recent month of pay, whether you are paid monthly, twice per month or weekly.
Bank Statements - This is easier than it appears. Typically the first page of of your statement should be enough to show that you have the funds and/or income to meet the monthly rent obligation. It also helps to show that you have the funds for first month’s rent and applicable deposits.
Tax Returns - Typically, tax returns should only be needed if you are self employed. Only your Federal returns will be needed.
Pets - It’s nice for the landlord to get a visual of your pet, so please include a photo of your pet.
Introduction Letter - This may seem like an unnecessary step. However, I have several clients that were accepted because the landlord liked their introduction letter. An introduction letter will help to tell the landlord a little about you and why you are going to be the best choice for the lease. If you have had a short sale or other type of credit issue, it helps to explain that beforehand. Remember, the fewer questions a landlord has to ask, the the better.