There’s nothing worse than showing up to meet your prospective landlord without the appropriate documents in-hand to apply for their property. Not only is it inconvenient for both parties, you will likely make a bad impression. Other, better-prepared applicants may jump the line even if you’re more qualified.

As always, Pickmy is here to make your life easier and provide what you need in one place so you don’t have to spend time searching! As a qualified, initiative-taking renter, you’re sure to get the attention of the owner of the rental you want. In order to be fully prepared, make a great impression, and stand out from other interested renters, remember to have these items ready before you arrive:

  1. Identification – There are several forms of identification you can provide, and it’s best to bring along at least two. These include:
    • Driver’s License
    • State ID
    • Social Security card
    • Passport
    • Birth Certificate
    • Green Card
    • 1040-NR

  2. Pay Stubs and/or Bank Statements – You will need to prove that you have an income that supports the cost of the rental you’re seeking. You will likely need to show two month’s worth of steady income, so have the appropriate, up-to-date documents on-hand.
  3. Job History/Resume – Your potential landlord will want to know that you are gainfully employed and have a good track record for remaining so. Make sure your resume is up-to-date with your current employer listed. Providing these documents will help your landlord feel confident that you will be a dependable tenant.
  4. Proof of Renters Insurance – While not all landlords require rental insurance, it is still best practice to have it for your own protection and in case of unforeseen accidents. It is usually quite affordable, and your car insurance company will likely be able to offer it as a bundled deal. Everyone will enjoy a bit more peace of mind with renters’ insurance.
  5. Vehicle Registration (if applicable) – Whether you will be renting a house or an apartment, your landlord will want to know whether the car(s) parked on their property is yours. Sometimes, there are limited spaces available and/or you may need a parking pass so that your car isn’t towed. Be sure to provide vehicle information for everyone who will be living with you and has a car, and ask if guests will need parking passes.
  6. Background Check (Pickmy has your back!) – There are plenty of scammers and bad actors out there, so landlords need to know that you are above board. By providing your prospective landlord your social security number, they can run a background check on your behalf. You may have to do this for multiple properties, which can get expensive.

    However! There’s a better way with PickMy. Sign-up here and you can save both time and money by only paying $30 for one background check and then landlords will provide their listings to you rather than searching for them yourself. Also, you can pre-select the criteria you’re looking for to save even more time.
  7. Personal References – Again, not all landlords will require you to have personal references, but taking the time to get them will help you stand apart from other applicants. Even if you are not asked for references, take the initiative to provide them along with other documentation.

    If possible, type, neatly format, and print a page of references (three or more is preferable) so that a landlord can easily read and contact the people who have agreed to vouch for you. Usually, a name, phone number, and how you know each individual is enough. It’s best if these people are those you’ve rented from in the past!
  8. Cosigner – You should find out ahead of time whether your credit is strong enough on its own to qualify you to enter a lease. If you find that it isn’t, approach trusted family members, such as your parents/guardians, or other well-known associates to see if they would be willing to share the risk with you. You may not even have established credit history yet, so a cosigner is a great option to start building credit. Identifying this person before the application process begins will make it go that much more smoothly and help you secure your desired home.
  9. Pet information – If you have a pet or pets, you must disclose this information. The type, size, and weight of your pet will determine whether you are eligible to rent at a specific property. Be prepared for pet security deposits that are typically required up-front and sometimes annually, and ask whether these fees are refundable at the end of your lease.

    If pets are not allowed, there are exceptions for service animals in Maryland (not “emotional support” animals; you must have a disability and your service animal must work or perform a task). You may not be denied nor charged extra for having a service animal.

When you have all the above taken care of, you’ll feel a little less stressed during the moving process and will be well on your way to moving into your new rental. Of course, if you sign up as a tenant on,that will make the process even easier since landlords will come to you and provide listings for you to peruse without searching!

Let us know if you have any questions. We’re here to make the rental search process quicker, easier, and cheaper!