How to Prove Your Income When Applying for an Apartment

Applying for apartments in Houston is a thrilling experience that includes going through paperwork in order to move into your new home. Proof of income is one of the most crucial papers you’ll need before getting authorized. Verifiable documentation demonstrating that your income is equal to or more than the amount requested by your landlord are required as proof of income.

Proof of income paperwork are straightforward for some people, but not everyone has a regular employment. You can still rent even if you’re self-employed, retired, or temporarily jobless. There are a variety of techniques to demonstrate income. Here are several methods that almost every tenant may use to show their income and get accepted for a new apartment.


We understand that proof of income is a set of documents that you, the tenant, submit to your landlord to demonstrate your earnings, but why do they require it for a rental application? Basically, your landlord wants to know that you’ll be a dependable renter who pays rent on time every month. Your landlord will typically require you to earn more than three times your monthly rent, which means you should set aside 30% of your yearly income for rent. If you live with roommates, your combined income should equal 30 percent of the entire rent. In most cases, you’ll need at least two documents to establish your income, but your landlord may want more. Some places are more stringent than others, but this is only a precaution to avoid fraud on their side.

Providing these papers may appear intrusive at times, but it will eventually benefit your budget. While certain places have a greater cost of living than others, it’s usually recommended that while renting, you keep under the 30% of income level.


If you work for a company and have a typical nine-to-five job, you have a variety of options for proving your income for your new apartment.

Paycheck stub

For people who get continuous salary, a pay stub, often known as a pay slip, is the most common choice. A pay stub is a record that you receive at the conclusion of each pay period that includes information such as hours worked, per-hour earnings, year-to-date earnings, tax deductions, insurance deductions, 401K deductions, and so on. Your landlord will typically want more than one pay stub to prove a few months’ worth of wages, as well as another reliable document, as pay stubs are readily faked. Pay stubs may not be the ideal solution if you work on commission or earn hourly rates and don’t have a consistent schedule since your earnings fluctuate from pay period to pay period.

Return from the previous year (typically IRS Form 1040)

If you work on commission or don’t have earnings that can be reflected on a pay stub, you might be able to use last year’s tax return, called IRS 1040. Your tax return details all of your sources of income for the year. Landlords like this as proof since it is the most accurate record of wages, but tenants may find it difficult to locate or believe it is intrusive. It’s also from the previous year, so if you changed employment, it might not be true.

Statements of account

For working renters, bank statements are a fantastic choice since they may be combined with a paystub or utilized to indicate wages for those who do not have the same monthly income. A bank statement is a record of the amount, deposits, and withdrawals in your bank account. These offer your landlord an idea of your spending patterns and income, but some tenants may find them intrusive. You’re not alone if you’re uncomfortable with bank statements, so know that you have alternative options.

Letter of proof of income

Some apartments may need a proof of income letter, which is a statement produced by your employer describing your salary and job responsibilities. If necessary, this letter might also be used as a recommendation letter. Have your landlord describe exactly what they require in the letter before requesting your employer to draft it.

Letter of acceptance

A formal offer letter, as long as it contains your pay, can also be used as proof of income. The landlord may need the offer letter to be accompanied by another document, but this is at their discretion. If your credit is in good standing, the offer letter may suffice as evidence.


You are not ineligible to rent only because you are retired or temporarily unemployed. You still have a lot of options for displaying your profits.

Statement of Pension Distribution (IRS Form 1099 R)

A pension is similar to a 401K in that it is money that you earned while working and now receive on a regular basis. Your pension earnings may be verified on your tax return using a pension distribution statement, also known as a 1099 R. Because this form is readily falsified, your landlord may need it to be accompanied by another document for verification.

Letter of verification of income from the Social Security Administration

If you receive social security benefits, a social security proof of income letter, also known as a benefit verification letter, may be obtained in your Social Security account.

Letter of unemployment compensation

Your federal or state unemployment checks can be used as proof of income if you’re on unemployment. The main disadvantage is that these checks often have a stop date, so you’ll need a backup if your checks expire before your lease.

Dividends and interest income

Interest income comes from money gained on savings accounts, whereas dividend income comes from equities and mutual funds. These are called 1099-INT and 1099-DIV on your tax return, respectively. This declaration is a fantastic choice in the eyes of your landlord if these revenues pay your rent.

Letter of remuneration for a worker

You can use your award letter, which is generally provided by the insurance company or court that awarded the compensation, as evidence of income if you are presently receiving worker’s compensation. Because it has an expiration date, it’s best suited for a short-term lease or if you’ll have proof of income after the compensation period ends.

Statement of Annuity

Annuities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may inherit an annuity, or if you’re retired, you may have a contract with an insurance company under which you get set payments. The insurance firm generally sends out the annuity statement, which is an update on the money generated. If you don’t have your statement, you’ll need to ask your representative for it.


Don’t panic if you’re self-employed and don’t have pay stubs or other papers that show your exact monthly profits. Self-employed persons have a variety of options for proving their income.

Returns on taxation (IRS 1040)

Tax returns were previously discussed, but they are worth mentioning again since they are the most accurate picture of what you made during a given year because they cover all types of income. Landlords value tax returns as proof of income since they are easily verifiable.

Statements of profit and loss

Profit and loss statements are financial statements that include income, expenses, and other costs for a specific time period. These might be useful for small-business owners who are hesitant to provide their tax returns or who lack pay stubs.

Statements of account

Bank statements, like tax returns, are discussed above, but they are especially useful for self-employed people since they indicate what you earn against what you spend.


Invoices and contracts are fantastic ways to offer proof of revenue if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor. This is a simple approach to show your salary if you have a long-term project or have additional ventures lined up. The disadvantage of this technique is that it may need a lot of documentation to be sent around if you have many projects running at the same time or multiple short-term initiatives lined up.

1099-MISC (Income Tax Return)

A 1099 form from the Internal Revenue Service details earnings received from sources other than an employer. This might include earnings from interest and dividends, for example. Not everyone will be able to submit this form as proof of income because this money was acquired from sources other than your work. This is a wonderful approach to provide evidence of income if you have enough money, but most individuals will have to pick a document that proves their employer’s revenue.

One of the procedures in obtaining accepted for an apartment is to provide evidence of income. In order to be accepted, your income must be accompanied with a satisfactory credit score. You could be authorized and ready to travel depending on your position, but this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes tenants have terrible credit, don’t match the income criteria, or the landlord discovers another red flag on the application. If this is the case, your application may be accepted; nevertheless, your landlord may demand a guarantee or cosigner. A guarantor is a person who signs the lease with you and agrees to pay the rent if you, the tenant, fail to do so.

A cosigner serves in the same capacity as a guarantor, but with the added benefit of being able to reside in the property.

Proof of income is required as part of the rental application procedure. You’ll want to make sure you’re presenting an accurate depiction of your wages to both yourself and your landlord.

Many businesses will ask for two or more papers, so choose the ones you’re most comfortable presenting and that correctly indicate your salary. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so select the evidence of income that best suits your needs.