Updated: Dec 20, 2019
I've seen people in some rough circumstances they shouldn't be in just because of a few dings on their credit or background history. As an Apartment Locator, I've even had a client, his name was Hotier, who came to me after he already lost $700 in application, admin, and deposit fees from his denied applications. As a result, the apartments he applied at kept his funds or held them for longer than a month.
Everybody makes mistakes at one point in their life and credit is not the easiest to stay on top of, but that shouldn't be the reason you don't get approved for the apartment you want.
There are 5 qualifications that you absolutely need to know before applying for an apartment: (in order from most important to least important)
You must make 2.5x - 3x the rent before taxes for apartments to even consider your application. Hence the reason it is at the top of this list. This is typically not up for negotiation nor is there anyway around it. If you don't qualify for gross income, then chances are the apartment is out of your price range. For example, if you make $20 an hour at 40 hours per week ($3200/month) then you would qualify for an apartment up to $1,066 in rent.
Now most apartments are typically 3x the rent but every so often you can come across an apartment that qualifies at 2.5x the rent if they're feeling lenient, this would be the exception.
Aside from income, rental history is king of qualification. If all else fails but you have solid rental history, chances are you still qualify for an ideal apartment.
Having good rental history means no broken leases or evictions. If you owe a property any dollar amount, then this will show up as a broken lease to apartments as well. This means that if you left a mess at your last apartment and the landlord demanded that you pay for damages, this will show as a broken lease when you apply for an apartment if you decided not to pay.
As usual, apartments will always check background history when you apply. This is more so to protect the other tenants because of how close in proximity everybody is to each other.
A felony is harder to get approved for than a misdemeanor. However, the real determining factor is whether the crime committed was a violent or non-violent crime. If you have anything that involves assault, domestic violence, sexual assault, or felony drugs, your chances of getting approved anywhere are slim to none.
On a brighter note, if you have anything involving misdemeanor drugs, white collar crime, or tickets, you still have a good chance of getting into an apartment of your choice with a couple minor limitations.
Breed restrictions are outdated in my opinion, but the companies that manage most of the apartments are older and have different views towards our furry friends.
Yes, Pit Bulls are cute and cuddly and even nicer than most other pets, but unfortunately they still count as aggressive breeds as do many other friendly dogs like Australian shepherds that shouldn't be marked aggressive.
Do I agree with it, no. But it's the sad reality and I definitely urge for change as this is a common stereotype of bigger dogs.
Credit is actually not as big of a factor as most people think it is. Unless your score is below 500 and you owe a ton of different companies, then you there shouldn't be any reason to worry.
Since I am a Realtor, I do both apartments and homes (rentals/buy/sell) and the number one edge apartments have over homes is the fact that they don't even really check credit. They only check credit because it's a standard qualifying process that management companies have to do. What they're really concerned about is all the above factors that I talked about above, especially rental history.
Since you now know everything there is to know to get approved, the next step would be to see which apartments would actually qualify for your specific situation. Find Me Apartment is a free apartment locating service that a ton of people in San Antonio, Texas are using to get approved on their applications and can avoid hundreds of dollars in denied application fees.