A.D. Thompson
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Know good people? They'll come in handy all your life, to be sure, but they really help out when it comes to securing apartment application referrals!

The entire rental vetting process is daunting. Landlords and property management companies will be combing over your life, on paper and off. They'll verify your income and employment, as well as take an electronic stroll through your educational, professional and – perhaps most unsettling of all – financial histories. And if you're worried about renting with bad credit, this is where your apartment application referrals can really come in handy.

Top choice

If you've got rental history and it's positive – use it! List your former landlord. They're the best vouchers of all, able to validate your reliable rent-payment history (the thing your potential new property manager will care about most) and answer questions about what it was like to have you as a tenant and the condition in which you left your last apartment.

These are stellar bits of information and can really help to balance out any not-so-great marks that may show elsewhere in your application. Landlords want to see responsibility and maturity in their tenants, and if they can hear about it from your last landlord, your odds of landing the apartment go up infinitely.

Other options

Employers would come next on the list of quality references. They can demonstrate similar qualities as a landlord, showcasing your responsible nature. Your current employer would do double-duty, also verifying your steady income in the process.

Managers and co-workers make excellent references, as well. If at all possible, try to avoid the most personal options – friends, family, significant others – as these are people who have a more intimate interest in the outcome and won't be seen as neutral sources.

If you've never rented before, no worries. The above lot can go a long way in vouching for you. Everyone has to have a first time leaving the nest, so don't stress. The youngest among new renters can even go beyond employers to professors, mentors, coaches and even clergy. Each of these people can demonstrate your dependability and consistency, as well as your demeanor.

Bad credit?

It's not ideal, but keeping a roster of quality references is all the more important if it's something you're going to have to deal with when you apply. They can stress how you have worked hard – and still are – to clean up your past mismanagement, assuring them that you won't become a problem when the first of the month rolls around.

Get permission!

While letters of reference are wonderful (you can bring copies to submit with your application) they aren't necessary. Most landlords are happy to email or call to verify the information they're seeking.

But first, make sure you ask each person you intend to use as a reference and ask if they're OK with it. Most people don't appreciate being called out-of-the-blue for such things and further, you want to be sure you like what they're going to say!

Make a master list, clear them all before putting their names on the application and be sure to have back-ups, in case they want more than you expect or they're unable to reach someone.

Apartment application referrals don't have to be intimidating. In fact, having a quality list that's ready to go should take some of the scary out of the process, giving you an arsenal of positivity to unleash in the search for your dream apartment.

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About The Author

A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson spent the first half of her 25-year career behind the editor’s desk, including time at Playgirl Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel and a host of other publications, print and online. Now a full-time freelancer, she is the Orlando expert for USA Today’s 10Best.com and writes about everything from Mickey Mouse to marijuana-based tourism with equal levels of enthusiasm – and occasional bouts of the munchies.

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