Why do they do it? Why do leasing agents and Real Estate owners ask for basically everything you own before turning over the keys to an apartment? It’s an excellent question, and one that’s worth analyzing. In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why real estate owners are so reluctant to just give out apartments to prospective applicants.

Credit Check

These days, almost every real estate owner requires prospective applicants to give their Social Security Number prior to applying to an apartment. With that social security number, leasing agents can run a Credit Check to find out a credit score.

Apartments usually operate with a set of leasing criteria, and can deny applicants based on a poor credit score. Would you rent to someone who either didn’t pay or didn’t pay on time? I didn’t think so.

Criminal/Background Check

In all apartment complexes, nobody wants to have a resident who had past arrests on their record. That means for each applicant, leasing agents need to run a criminal and background check to find out what their history was. Again, these complexes can deny someone who has arrests on their record.


Property owners need to protect themselves from potential lawsuits and from the tenants in the complex. Because of this, leases can get extremely complicated and involve a lot of paperwork.

In most cases, leasing agents require proof of government identification, a birth certificate, proof of income, and in some cases, bank statements. All of that is then given to the leasing agents, who need to review it before it is sent to a compliance department, which then takes its own time to review the paperwork.


The top reason why property owners ask for all of these things is evictions. Evictions cost a huge amount of time and money, as residents can often stay in apartments for months without paying rent before someone finally does kick them out. And even when they are kicked out, there is still the cost of turnover for the unit, which can often be greater for a resident who destroys the unit while he/she is being evicted.

All of the above steps help to prevent eviction from happening before it can even start, although it doesn’t totally prevent it from occurring.

The next time you have to rent an apartment, just think about everything that leasing agents and property owners have to go through before approving you for an apartment. It takes time, and if you're willing to be understanding, the leasing agents will appreciate that.