What happens after a rental application is approved? 

If you’re on this page, this means you’ve recently had your rental application approved. Congratulations on securing your new place!

If your rental application is approved, the next steps are to arrange a meeting with your landlord, research about your rights, draw up a lease agreement, arrange a security deposit, and set up the necessary arrangements.

Want to learn more about the process? Jump right in! 

1. Arrange a meeting with your landlord

To start your relationship on good terms, arrange a formal meeting with the landlord (either virtual or in-person) where both of you can:

  • Get familiar with each other;
  • Reiterate rules and regulations upfront;
  • Acquire each other’s contact information in case of emergencies. 

A meeting will also allow you to ask questions you may have possibly missed before, sign formal tenancy agreements, get the keys to your new apartment or home, and go over any instructions vis-a-vis taking care of the place. 

2. Research the laws of the city and state where you live — and the rules of the building

Ideally, every renter should get a thorough understanding of the laws to follow — this will not only help you adhere to them, but also define your and your landlord’s rights regarding the rental property. 

For example, New Jersey has a strict law on security deposit collection (i.e., there’s a maximum amount landlords can collect and a timeline for returning these deposits). 

Similarly, in New York City, landlords have to return security deposits within 14 business days of the move-out date and they cannot collect advance rent.

In Florida, tenants can withhold rent if a landlord doesn’t repair the damages they’re required to.  

Additionally, your new rental property will have codes of conduct to follow as well.

The rental application should have been clear on policies regarding pets, roommates, not allowing guests after a certain time, no smoking, etc. (You can also get this information from the property manager/property management company.)

If you’re a first-time renter or have moved to a new city, it might seem difficult to fully understand your rights as a tenant.

But you’ll benefit from contacting sources devoted to help interpret rights and laws for those renting (e.g., here’s the Tenants Union of Washington State). 

Additionally, state governments have also listed city- and state-specific tenant and landlord laws on their websites (e.g., here’s the California’s Tenants Guide). 

3. Draw up and sign a lease agreement

You’ll be signing a lease agreement, one that keeps all the laws, policies, and requirements you’re agreeing to clearly displayed and easy to understand.

(If it doesn’t, rethink signing and living under such vague conditions.)  

Your agreement is likely being drawn up by your landlord, so keep a careful eye on all the things that might affect your stay, especially if your landlord does not live on-site. 

For example, some landlords allow pets (if this applies to your building and you’re allergic to certain animals, this may affect you).

Some will allow co-signers, including family members, as guarantors on your apartment application.

Some may be more “hands-off” (which means they only care about rent payments and you’ll have neighbors that party all the time without repercussions).

If you’re covering this step with the landlord, use the lease agreement templates from PandaDoc’s library.

With Content Fields on the right, populate the existing fields or add new information. 

PandaDoc will send you a notification once their signature has been received. 

Quick note: If not already covered on the rental application, your landlord may require any of the following before finalizing the contract: employment verification, pay stubs, credit score, tax returns, bank statements, rental history with past landlords and personal references, social security number, and a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license). 

4. Arrange for a security deposit

After the lease agreement has been signed by all parties, you will need to send your security deposit to your landlord.

Apartment applications will typically require a deposit that’s equal to first month’s rent, and in many parts of the US, moving in means coming up with “first, last, and security” (meaning the equivalent of three month’s rent; when your lease comes to an end, your last month is already paid for). 

Completing the rental application process includes any additional expenses outlined in the contract that may not be refundable (aside from the application fee you’ve already paid, this refers to items like pet or cleaning deposits). 

These depend on the condition of the rental property when you move out — be sure to do a “walk-through” with your landlord when you move in, so both parties sign off on any repairs needed or damage before you take possession — and your credit report or credit score isn’t affected later.

5. Get the necessities in order

Once everything is sorted, make sure you:

  1. Set up your renter’s insurance (always a good idea, possibly required by your landlord);
  2. Are clear where to send rent payments, and who to contact should the rental property need repairs;
  3. Start service with local utilities;
  4. Update your address information with the local post office.

6. Discover service providers where you live

Last but not least, get to know your locality, and start a contact list of important personnel like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, doctors and others in case of emergencies. 

Manage documents with PandaDoc

As a renter, you’ll put many of your rent-related hurdles behind you once you find the perfect place, initiate the application process, provide proof of income, meet your potential landlord, show you have a good credit history, sign the agreement, and are ready to move in. 

However, there may still be docs you’re responsible for, such as written notices informing the landlord about property damage, updating your contact information, and creating renewal agreements. 

All of this can be done with PandaDoc! So, start a free trial to unleash all of PandaDoc’s capabilities.