Application Process

Rental Application

When you find an apartment that you are interested in, the landlord or property manager will ask you to fill out a rental application. This document allows a landlord to obtain financial information from a prospective tenant. You may be charged an application processing fee which also covers the cost of the credit/background check. The following pieces are typically includes on a rental application: 

Credit and Background Check

Information for credit reports:

Credit Report Graphic
Employment, income and credit history
Previous addresses
Social Security and driver's license numbers
University ID number
Past evictions or bankruptcies
Names of others living in the rental residence
Emergency contact information

Online Applications
Clip Art of Applying Online

Many landlords use an online application. 
Read the application carefully before you electronically sign the agreement
The information on an online application must adhere to the same agreements regarding disclosure as any in-person application

The landlord will also want to perform a credit and background check . You will have to declare that the information provided is true and correct to the tenant's knowledge, on your rental application. The information gathered through this application will be used by the Landlord to make a decision as to whether to rent the premises to the prospective tenant or not. If you have a co-signer or guarantor, a credit check may also be run on their information.


Your prospective landlord or property manager cannot discriminate against you if you are a member of a protected class. In Philadelphia, the protected classes of Title VIII of the Federal Housing Act are complemented by the requirements of the PA Human Relations Act and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance. The Fair Practices Ordinance prohibits discrimination in housing and public accommodations based on the following:
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Disability
  • Marital Status
  • Age
  • Familial Status
  • Domestic or Sexual Violence Victim Status
Landlords are legally free to choose among prospective tenants as long as their decisions comply with these fair housing laws and are based on legitimate business criteria. 

Students may have to obtain co-signers or guarantors in order to financially qualify for an apartment. 

It’s important to read the fine print of the rental application. The application fee is non-refundable, but the deposit you put down with the application, which can be as much as one month of rent, may also be non-refundable. For your records, ask for a copy of your signed rental application. Landlords are obligated to supply you with a copy of everything you sign.