Before renting an apartment, you generally need to prove that you can afford to pay the monthly rent. To that end, it's a good idea to have several months' worth of pay stubs on hand when you fill out the application. The stubs should clearly indicate your base pay rate and the amount of take home pay. In some competitive markets, it's a good idea to show that your income has remained stable over several years, so bring copies of your tax returns for the past two or three years to prove your income. Bring copies of your most recent bank statements as well, in case you need to provide proof of sufficient resources.
Your potential landlord may also require employment verification, so save time by bringing a signed statement, on company letterhead, indicating your position, annual salary and how long you have been with the company. You can acquire this statement from your boss or your company's human resources department.
Your credit score and report may play a role in whether you are approved to rent an apartment, so it's a good idea to print a copy of your credit report to include with your rental application. The landlord may pull a copy of your credit report on his own, but if you bring your own copy, you may have a chance to explain potential issues before he processes your application.
Since landlords often look for a positive rental history before renting to new tenants -- meaning that you didn't skip out on the rent or leave a previous apartment damaged -- ask your current landlord for a letter of reference. The letter should include the dates you rented the apartment, how much you paid for rent and indicate that you paid on time and honored the lease. Even with this letter, the new landlord may wish to contact your old landlord for more information, or have a specific form that needs to be filled out, but a letter of reference could save this step. If this is your first place, and you don't have a rental history, be prepared to supply other references that can attest to your character.
In addition to your rental history and landlord references, prepare a list of personal references that can vouch for your responsibility and character. Provide complete contact details for your references, including phone numbers. Once you give out your references, let those people know that you have done so and give them the name of the new landlord or building manager so they can expect the call.