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Rental Requirements and Newcomer Documents

Understand and identify the required rental documents and which newcomer documents may apply.

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This resource outlines the documents usually required from tenant applicants by landlords and property managers when applying to rent a house or apartment. These requirements can be met in different ways, and some documents that newcomers have can be substitutes.
It is best to speak with the landlord or property manager to explain that alternative documents are legitimate substitutes for documentation usually presented by Americans when applying for housing.

Documents usually required to secure a lease (rent an apartment of house).
Requirement
Items Satisfying Requirement
What is this document? Where do I get it?
Proof of identity
Driver’s License or State ID A card provided by a State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) local office
I-94 card Document issued to you by USCIS (for U4U program participants)
Travel Document USCIS issues five types of travel documentation that can serve as proof of identity
Form I-766 Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with a C11 (An alien paroled into the United States in the public interest or temporarily for emergency reasons) category can serve as proof of identity
Ukrainian Passport You may want to provide a copy of your Ukrainian Passport, along with other documents, for additional proof of identification and country of origin.

*Note: Never give anyone your passport itself; share a photocopy or a photo.

Criminal history
Background Check Report Such a report can be obtained by landlord using your Social Security Number
I-94 card Document issued to you by USCIS (for U4U program participants)
Rental history
Previous Rent History This question is asked on the rental application, and typically a renter shares previous addresses and landlord contact information. So, you will not be able to do this.
References Contact information of people who know you well and can confirm that you will be a good tenant. Before you give others’ names to a landlord, you should ask the people you are naming as references if this is OK with them. Who can you list here:

– Your line manager at work

– Co-workers

– Your sponsor

– Airbnb host (if you had rented Airbnb before)

– Family you lived with (if you lived with family hosting refugees).

Resettlement Agency Letter of Support This is a letter from a Resettlement Agency that tells the landlord that you have support for renting in the U.S., and that they will support you if needed.
U.S. Sponsor Letter of Support You can include a letter of support from your U.S. sponsor, especially if you lived with them.
Proof of Employment
Job Offer Letter When you are offered a job, employers should give you with a written Offer Letter than includes the start date of employment, job title, and compensation (pay) you will receive. If you do not have one, ask your employer to provide one so you can use it when applying to rent an apartment or house.
Pay Stubs These are copies of your pay summary, which you get from your employer weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on when you are paid.
Taxes Paid Documentation You will receive a “W2” form from your employer by mail in January of each year. It verifies how much you earned and how much Federal, State, and local taxes you paid the prior year.
Form I-766 Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with a C11 category can act as a proof of employment in the short-term.
Ability to pay
Credit report This might be an option if you already have a credit history. For example, if you have had an active credit card for at least 2 months. Landlord can check your credit report with your SSN number. Be aware that checking a credit report can have a report on your credit score.
Paystubs These are copies of your pay summary, which you get from your employer weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on when you are paid.
Job Offer Letter When you are offered a job, employers should give you with a written Offer Letter than includes the start date of employment, job title, and compensation (pay) you will receive. If you do not have one, ask your employer to provide one so you can use it when applying to rent an apartment or house.
Commitment to Pay a High Deposit — or is it “Several Months’ Rent in Advance”? Some landlords might not require one or all of the usual documents (as above) if you offer to pay the first 3 months rent in advance
Income Tax Return All wage earners are required to file Federal, State, and local tax returns each year by April 15th for all income earned during the prior year.
Resettlement Agency Promissory Note A Promissory Note is a signed document promising to pay a stated amount of money to a specified person (or the bearer of the Note) on a specific date or on demand. Some Resettlement Agencies provide these to newcomers to guarantee the landlord that the rent will be paid. If you are working with an agency, ask your case worker if the agency can provide one.