Why Your Rental Applications May Get Turned Down

You're looking for a new place to live. You've located the ideal location, filled out an application, waited excitedly for a response from the landlord, only to learn that your rental application was turned down. What happened? What went wrong?

Rejection Reasonings

Filling out a rental application is an important step in the renting process. With the application,  you are able to show interest in the property you’re renting while also giving the landlord or property management the information they need to decide your eligibility in renting the home. However, some blemishes on your record or previous offence may jeopardize your ability to secure your dream home, leading to a landlord's rejection of your application.

It's crucial to know what legal grounds there are for rejecting a rental application. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced renter, you can increase your chances of being approved if you understand these factors and take it into consideration when renting your next home.

Credit Issues

Landlords are allowed to set a credit score that must be met in order to rent one of their homes. It may be used to predict whether or not you would be a suitable fit for the home you’re renting. This is because credit scores are indications of financial history, and the law allows them to be used as a determining factor when reviewing rental applications. Also, if you have a bankruptcy in your financial history, that may as well negatively impact your ability to rent. At Instahome, we partnered with a CTOS company to assess our tenant's credit score. CTOS compiles data from various public sources to provide a credit report that includes information on bankruptcy, legal actions, and an individual's company exposure or ownerships/directorships. 

You can read more on how credit score affects your renting process here.


The majority of landlords do not allow pets, and those that do will have strict rules. A renter's offer may be refused if the prospective tenant has a pet that does not meet the standards. The number, the size and the breed type of the pet are generally the limits. Every renter will talk about how well-trained their pet is, despite the fact that pets often cause damage to furnishings including peeing in the home, chewing baseboards and ripping curtains, to name a few. Introducing a landlord to the pet is sometimes the most excellent way to win them over. It might also assist in showing them images of where they now live.

In general, pet ownership should be reserved for until you own your own house, or only apply to homes that allow pets (pet-friendly policy).

Invalid References

References are used by landlords and property managers to verify your job and renting history. If you provide your landlord the name and phone number of your employment, they may search it up and contact the number found online to double-check the accuracy of the information you supplied. If it is discovered that the information you provided regarding references does not function, it will indicate that you lied, and you will be rejected.

Your potential landlord will also contact your previous landlords or property managers to inquire about your rental history. They would want to know if you paid your rent on time, if you abused or neglected the property, and if you've ever created any issues in general. There's a risk your rental application may be refused if your previous landlord provides poor references.

Inaccurate Information

If a renter is discovered lying on their application or using fake paperwork, they will almost certainly be rejected. This is why, in addition to investigating a prospective tenant's credit, your employment and income need to be verified. When a landlord notices that you've tried to deceive them, your odds of getting your application approved drop dramatically. Similarly, finding out that an applicant forged their income information is a good cause to reject their application.

Never falsify information especially if it's used as a factor in your decision to rent their home in the first place. Be forthright about any issues you may have, such as a criminal background or gaps in your renting history. You'll look a lot more sincere if you address these problems upfront, and landlords may be more ready to be accommodating. When it comes to renting, honesty can get you far in a landlord-tenant relationship.

Too Many People

Many properties impose restrictions on the number of individuals who can reside there. For example, if you apply for a one-bedroom home and state that you have three children, your application will likely be rejected. In this case, instead of cramming too many people in one place, it is advisable that you look for homes that are big enough for your family or housemates to live comfortably.

You must be able to prove to the landlord or property management why the space will work for your living circumstances if you are attempting to rent a place with more people than allowed. For example, if a bedroom is large enough, it may indicate that it’s practical and realistic for more than two individuals to live there.

If you're trying to figure out how to find the right home for your family, check out these tips.

Past Eviction

There's no denying it: past evictions will reflect poorly on your application. If you're in this scenario, though, try sending a note that explains the issue. Evictions can occur for various reasons, some of which are beyond your control, such as health-related concerns, job loss, or serious personal issues. When you are ready to provide some background, landlords may be willing to fit in your situation.

Solution? Solid Application and Respect Policy

Typically, you'd apply to rent a home and the application would be approved straight away. However, things don't always go as planned. Just as you would want to find the best home, the landlord would also want to find the best tenant they can trust with their property. That’s why it’s important for you to understand all of the legitimate reasons why your rental application may get denied, as mentioned above. In that case, you can ensure that your application is convincing and well-founded ahead of time, know which area to improve on, so you can avoid getting your application turned down.

Haven't found your dream home? Check out our website for more options.