What Is a Rental Resume?

Quick Answer

A rental resume is an optional document you can create and hand out to potential landlords. Including information such as your rental history, your pet’s biography and your income may help you stand out in a competitive rental market.

Young couple at open house holding a rental resume.

Creating a resume that outlines your educational and professional accomplishments is a normal part of a job hunt. Although they're generally not required, you can use a rental resume to similarly introduce yourself to landlords and property managers. If you're looking to rent a home or apartment in a competitive market, or if you're new to renting, a well-crafted rental resume might help give you an edge over other renters.

Why Should You Create a Rental Resume?

Rental resumes can range in detail and length, and the intent is to introduce yourself, address common questions and explain away potential concerns. You may have to complete the landlord's application and agree to background and credit checks, but your rental resume gives you a chance to expand on what the landlord finds.

For example, you might have missed loan payments after you lost your job or had a medical emergency. A landlord who doesn't have this context could review your credit report or see a low credit score and be concerned that you'll miss rent payments. Assuming you're caught up on bills and now have an income, you can use your rental resume to explain the circumstances and why you won't have trouble paying rent in the future.

Rental resumes can also add a human touch to your application. You want to show the landlord that you'll be a good tenant and take care of the property, especially when you're applying to rent from a small-time landlord or a landlord who also lives in the building.

What Information Should Your Rental Resume Include?

Your rental information will contain a lot of the information that's commonly requested in rental applications. If you're looking for a rental with roommates or a partner, you can start with brief bios of each person, how you know each other and why you want to live together.

For each person, you can include:

  • Objective: An optional section that you can use to clarify why you're looking for a new home and when you want to move. Make this section specific to the property, perhaps highlighting the type of space or location.
  • Personal contact information: Include basics about yourself, such as your name, phone number, email address and a picture (if you want).
  • Employment history and references: List your current and recent employers along with brief descriptions of the work, when you worked at the job and contact information for your current manager.
  • Rental history and references: List your previous rental experience, along with each rental's location and the contact information for your most recent landlords.
  • Income or savings: You can include your current income, which the landlord may want to verify with a copy of your pay stub, tax return or an offer letter. If you have other sources of income or savings, you may want to list these to assure the landlord you can afford the required deposits and rent.
  • Pets: Some pet parents go as far as creating an entirely separate resume for their pets, which may be worthwhile considering landlords are sometimes hesitant to let pets live in their property. If you have a pet, including pictures and any relevant information, such as vaccination records, training certificates and references from a veterinarian or pet sites may tip the scales in your favor.
  • Letters of recommendation: Asking previous landlords, roommates and employers to write you a letter of recommendation can also help win over a landlord.

You can alter these recommended points to fit your circumstances. For example, if you're a full-time student and don't have a job, you can list where you're going to school, what you're studying and your extracurricular activities rather than employment history. Also, be sure to highlight any grants, student loans or financial assistance from family that you'll use to pay the rent.

Some information can be left off your resume because the landlord shouldn't be considering it when making a decision. These can include your race, age, religion, sexuality, disability status and citizenship status. If you have a service or emotional assistance animal you also don't necessarily need to tell the landlord when you apply.

How Do You Create a Rental Resume?

You can create a rental resume using software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, and there are templates online that can be helpful starting points. As with resumes for jobs, there are many ways to format your rental resume and you can pick and choose elements of several templates to get your desired outcome. However, to avoid formatting issues, it may be best to save and send your resume as a PDF.

Rental resumes can often fit on a single page, as you don't need to include a lot of details about previous jobs or rentals. Although you can go longer if you need, try to keep everything relevant and concise. Also, your rental packet may also be larger if you're applying as a group or including supplemental information, such as a copy of your pay stub or letters of recommendation.

Boost Your Credit With Your Rent Payments

Good credit can help you qualify for a rental, and your rent payments can also help you build good credit—if they appear in your credit report. Many landlords don't report rent payments to the credit bureaus. But you may be able to use Experian Boost®ø to add your rent payments to your Experian credit report for free. Get started with Experian Boost and see if your rent payments can help improve your credit score.