How to Verify Renter’s Income


The prospective tenant’s ability to pay is one of the most important screening criteria for landlords in any turnover. Failure to make payment is the most common reason leading up to premature termination of the lease, and sometimes, eviction.

There are 6 common proof-of-income that the landlord can request to make sure the prospective tenant has the ability to make rent payment each month.

Pay Stubs

This is the most common and up-to-date way to verify a prospective tenant’s ability to make rent payments. Because pay stubs only capture a short period, is it important to request more than one pay stub or verify the year-to-date gross amount to make sure that the income source is reliable.

Tax Return

Tax return is not as update-to-date as pay stubs, but it captures the overall picture of a renter’s income situation. The tenant can submit their most recent 1040 Form as a good proof of income.


The W-2 form is a one of the components of the 1040 Form. If the tenant works a full-time salary job and has only one source of income, providing a most recent W-2 form is as good as a 1040 Form. Also, since W-2 is for employees, this form of income is generally more stable.

1099 Form

For self-employed prospective tenants who don’t have a W-2, a good way to verify income is to provide a 1099 Form. But just to keep in mind that 1099 income is usually not as stable as W-2 income. But if the prospective renters can provide 1099 income with enough safe margin, it’s a good option as well.

Bank Statement

Requesting a bank statement is a good way to mitigate any questions that arise from any of the previous forms of proof of income. A bank statement will show the prospective tenant’s recurring income and expenses and the amount of financial buffer the tenant has in an event of an emergency.

Employment Letter (Offer Letter)

Lastly, for younger renters who are just about to join the workforce and don’t have any income history yet, an employment letter can also serve as the proof-of-income. The expected income can usually be derived from the letter fairly easily.

Other Methods

The above 6 methods are the most common, but there are other ways to verify the prospective renter’s income by either using a legal document, proof of asset, or proof of funds.


Meng Chen

Founder at PortfolioBay