How Many Pay Stubs Do I Need to Rent an Apartment?

How Many Pay Stubs Do I Need to Rent an Apartment?
February 1, 2023
February 1, 2023
6 min read

Renting an apartment should be a walk in the park, especially if you have the money to foot the bills. Alas, the reverse is the case. No landlord will hand over the keys to an apartment without doing due diligence, like asking for your rental history.

For one, it assures them that they are renting to someone who could be relied on to pay rent, which is understandable.  A rental application requires more details in addition to your basic information, like your rental history, social security number, and pay stubs.

If you intend to rent with roommates, they too will need to provide information to determine their eligibility. This article will discuss how many pay stubs you need for an apartment, why you should use pay stubs as proof of income, and what landlords look for in pay stubs. So, let's get right into it. 

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

How many pay stubs do I need to rent an apartment

Before going apartment hunting, you need to gather some documents and keep them handy. Though some landlords ask for more information than others, they generally do not miss asking for proof of income. So, here are some documents you need to prepare for the apartment renting process:

Pay Stubs 

Pay stubs tell a tale of your income, and landlords use them to gauge if you have a job and will make your rent on time. Most times, landlords will ask for two or three of your recent pay stubs, so keep that in mind. 

If you’re paid with direct deposit, you can still request a pay stub from your employer or develop one yourself with a pay stub-generating site. Here’s a guide on verifying pay stubs as a landlord.

Proof of Identification 

You will have to provide a credible means of identification to prove you’re who you said you were. Your driver's license, state ID, or passport can work for this part, and it’s best to have them on you while apartment hunting. 

This way, you can easily hand it over to the landlord to help prove your credibility instantly. Some landlords are stricter when it comes to identification and may carry out an investigation on you regardless, checking for a criminal offense.

Bank Statements 

Bank statements are one way to back up your pay stub or indicate you have a job for individuals that do not have pay stubs. The document provides a window to your earning and spending habits, which is a tad bit invasive, but necessary if you want that choice apartment. 

One way to do this is to provide two months' worth of bank statements and highlight the entries showing your pay. With this, the landlord wouldn't have to bend over backward trying to decipher the statement.


One good way to push your application forward is a recommendation from your previous landlord. It helps put your personality into perspective, giving the landlord a window into your habits. Recommendations can’t be in the form of a letter. 

You could provide the property manager’s contact information for the landlord to call and verify your tenancy. 

Rental History 

If you’ve lived in many places, you will need to provide your rental history. The document should include the property manager’s contact information, the apartment’s location, the amount you paid, how long you lived there, and the reason you left. 

Most landlords will call property managers to verify all the details you provide, and some might call just a random few. So ensure you provide the correct information. 

How Many Paystubs Does a Tenant Need to Show as Proof of Income?

You do not need to provide an entire catalog of your payment history to satisfy the landlord. Two or three months' worth of your recent pay stub is enough to satisfy their curiosity. If you're newly employed, you can provide an offer letter to show how much you’re to be paid.

If you’re wondering how many pay stubs for a mortgage, typically 2-3 most recent pay stubs are required as proof of income. However, the exact number may vary depending on the lender and the specific circumstances of the applicant.

Why Use Pay Stubs as Proof of Income? 

The reason behind using check stubs for renting is that they’re verifiable documents that show your past income. It shows deductions, taxes, bonuses, and other details that help create a picture of your financial record. Your employer provides it with your paycheck, and landlords won't have an issue with it, provided the document shows you earn enough to cover rent for the space. 

What Do Apartments Look for on Pay Stubs?

Landlords look at your total income per pay period and your year-to-date earnings. Also, it helps them verify your job and ensure you’re not involved in criminal activities. 

Get Pay Stubs for Renting

Typically, your employer provides the pay stub, but they are not federally required to. So on the off chance they don’t or you get paid via direct deposit, you can write them a professional email, requesting the pay stub. Or reach out to the human resource of your department to help out with that. 

Another quick way of obtaining a pay stub is by using a pay stub generator. 

Other Ways of Showing Proof of Income

Here are other ways of providing proof of income without pay check stubs:

W-2 income Form 

You can use the W-2 form as proof of income. W-2 forms detail the applicant's income from the previous year, and most landlords prefer the document as a substitute for pay stubs. However, you have to be ready to provide other documents because W-2 forms don’t usually cover intricate or up-to-date details of one's income. 

Offer Letter

You can provide an official cover letter as proof of income, provided it contains your salary. Also, you might have to provide other documents to prove you still work with the organization.

Proof of Income Letter

You can ask your employer to write you a proof of income letter to help push your case. The letter usually details your role and salary in the organization. However, it’s best to ask the landlord for the information they need in the letter before requesting one from your employer. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

  • What does it mean if an apartment asks for 3 pay stubs?

It means they expect you to provide your pay stubs for the last three months. If you’ve changed jobs within the said period, you can indicate so, or provide the pay stub nonetheless. The document is still valid, provided your current job can cover the rent.

  • Can a landlord ask for pay stubs?

Yes, your landlord can ask for pay stubs and other documents to prove you’re not a risk. If you’re uncomfortable providing the document, you can blur out details you consider private before submitting. 

  • Can you lie about your income to get an apartment?

No, you cannot lie about your income to get an apartment. If discovered, you will likely get jailed for falsifying your documents.

  • Can I get approved for an apartment using fake pay stubs?

Yes, you can get approved for an apartment using fake check stubs for renting if the landlord does not verify the documents. 

  • Is it illegal to use fake pay stubs for apartments?

Yes, it's illegal to falsify documents for any purpose, and you will get jail time if discovered and charged.

  • Can you go to jail for fake pay stubs for an apartment?

If the landlord reports you, you can get jailed for the crime.