How to Cancel an Apartment Application: A Comprehensive Guide

Cancelling an apartment application may not be something you anticipate when you start your housing search, but life can throw unexpected curveballs. Whether you’ve found a better-suited apartment or encountered unforeseen circumstances, having a clear understanding of how to cancel an apartment application can save you time, money, and stress.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to cancel an apartment application smoothly, ensuring a seamless transition and maintaining positive relations with landlords or property managers.

1. Determine Your Application Status

can I cancel an apartment application
can I cancel an apartment application?

If you’re asking ‘can I cancel an apartment application,’ generally the answer will be yes. However, before diving into the cancellation process, it’s essential to assess your application status. So, do you want to withdraw your apartment application before or after submission?

If you want to back out before submission, there is no action required. Simply don’t submit the application. But if you’ve already submitted it, take a moment to check for any approvals or offers. This initial step sets the stage for your next course of action.

2. What to Consider Before Processing

Before proceeding with the cancellation, it’s wise to consider any additional factors that may impact the process, such as:

Review Application Terms:

Take the time to review the terms of your application, including any clauses related to withdrawal or cancellation. Some applications may have specific deadlines, fees, or requirements for cancelling, so be sure to familiarize yourself with these terms before proceeding.

Online Platforms:

Utilize their withdrawal process if applicable. You can just search: “How to withdraw my apartment application on [include the platform]?” For example, if you have used Zillow to apply for an apartment, simply visit your Renter Hub and click on the application you need to withdraw. From there, click “withdraw,” and your application will be removed from the landlord’s account.

3. Choose a Communication Method

Once you’ve determined your application status, and Reviewed application terms,  it’s time to decide how to communicate your decision. There are two primary methods: a phone call or an email.


A phone call is the fastest option for communication. Reach out to the landlord or property manager and inform them of your decision to cancel your application. Be sure to follow up with a confirmation email to document the conversation.


Send a clear and concise email with subject line “Apartment Application Withdrawal – [Your Name] – [Property Address].” Briefly introduce yourself, mention the property address, and state your intention to withdraw. Optionally, mention your reason without going into excessive detail. Thank them for their time and consideration.

Sample Withdrawal Email:

Subject: Apartment Application Withdrawal – [Your Name] – [Property Address]

Dear [Landlord/Property Management],

I hope this email finds you well.

I am writing to inform you of my decision to withdraw my application for the apartment located at [Property Address]. After careful consideration, I have decided to pursue other housing options that better align with my current needs [You can mention your reasons here without going into excessive detail].

I want to express my sincere gratitude for considering my application and for your time and assistance throughout the process. I truly appreciate the opportunity to have considered your property.

Please let me know if there are any further steps I need to take to formalize the withdrawal of my application. Additionally, if there are any documents or fees that need to be returned or processed, please advise me on the necessary procedure.

Thank you once again for your understanding and assistance. I wish you all the best in finding a suitable tenant for the apartment.

Warm regards,

[Your Name] [Your Contact Information]

Important Note: Regardless of the communication method you choose, maintaining professionalism throughout the cancellation process is paramount. Remember that you don’t need to disclose a detailed reason for withdrawing. Maintain a respectful tone, as you might need to interact with them in the future.

4. Follow Up and Documentation

After initiating the cancellation process, it’s crucial to follow up and document your communication. If you opted for a phone call, send a confirmation email summarizing the conversation. In the event of no response within 24-48 hours, consider sending a polite follow-up email to inquire about confirmation. Keeping thorough records of all communication serves as valuable documentation for future reference.

Here is a sample follow-up email to inquire about confirmation that you can refer to:

Subject: Follow-Up Regarding Apartment Application Withdrawal

Dear [Landlord/Property Manager’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well.

I am writing to follow up on my previous email regarding the withdrawal of my apartment application for [Property Address]. As I mentioned in my initial communication, I have decided to pursue other housing options that better align with my current needs.

I understand that you may be busy with other matters, but I wanted to kindly inquire about the confirmation of my application withdrawal. I want to ensure that the necessary steps have been taken to formalize the withdrawal process and that any associated documentation or fees are being handled appropriately.

Your prompt attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated. If there are any further steps I need to take on my end to facilitate the withdrawal process, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Once again, I want to express my gratitude for your understanding and assistance throughout this process. I look forward to your response and wish you all the best in finding a suitable tenant for the apartment.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Warm regards,

[Your Name] [Your Contact Information]

Read Also About: Pro Tips: How to Follow Up on an Apartment Application

5. What About the Fees?

Now, let’s address the topic of fees. Typically, there are no fees associated with canceling an application before submission. However, after submission, the landlord’s policy and local regulations may come into play. Refer to the application terms and local laws to understand your rights and obligations regarding any potential fees or refunds.

Here’s an example of fees that might be refunded and typically not refunded:

Partial Application Fees:

Some landlords may charge a partial application fee, covering processing costs they’ve already incurred, such as credit check fees. If you withdraw your application before they begin processing it, you may be eligible for a partial refund of this fee.

Full Application Fees:

In many cases, landlords retain the entire application fee if you withdraw after they’ve started processing your application, even if you haven’t been approved. This fee typically covers administrative costs associated with processing the application and is non-refundable.

Late Cancellation Fees:

Certain landlords may impose additional fees if you withdraw your application after a specific deadline, even if they haven’t begun processing it. These fees are designed to compensate for any inconvenience caused by the late cancellation.

Security Deposit:

It’s essential to note that the security deposit is not affected by application withdrawal. The security deposit is only collected once you sign a lease agreement and move into the apartment

You May Also Like: No More Fees: Getting Your Apartment Application Fee Waived

6. Special Case: Application Status as “Approved”

What if I found my status as Approved but I did not sign the lease
What if I found my status as Approved, but I did not sign the lease?

If you find your application status as “approved” for an apartment, it means the landlord has chosen you as the tenant and is ready to move forward with renting the unit to you. However, backing out of your application at this stage can have significant consequences compared to withdrawing before approval. Here’s what you need to understand:

Consequences of Withdrawing After Approval:

1. Early Termination Fees:

The lease agreement you signed likely contains an early termination clause outlining specific fees or penalties associated with breaking the lease before the official move-in date. These fees can be substantial, often amounting to one or two months’ rent. Before withdrawing your application, carefully review the lease agreement to understand the consequences of breaking the lease.

2. Difficulty Finding a New Place:

Withdrawing your application after approval can make it challenging to find another apartment. Landlords may hesitate to rent to someone with a history of breaking leases, which could limit your options and potentially force you to accept less desirable alternatives.

3. Negative Impact on Rental History:

Breaking a lease can have a negative impact on your rental history, making it difficult to secure future rentals. Landlords often conduct background checks that include verification of previous rental history and adherence to lease agreements. It’s essential to consider the long-term consequences before withdrawing your application after approval.

What You Can Do in This Situation:

1. Negotiate with the Landlord:

When facing potential fees or penalties for withdrawing your application, it’s worth exploring the possibility of negotiation with the landlord. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Explain Your Situation: Provide the landlord with a clear explanation of your reasons for withdrawing your application. Be honest and transparent about your circumstances, expressing any regret for inconvenience caused.
  • Propose Alternatives: Offer alternatives to mitigate the impact of your withdrawal. For example, you could suggest finding a replacement tenant who meets the landlord’s criteria. This can demonstrate your willingness to cooperate and may help alleviate any concerns the landlord may have.
  • Seek a Lower Fee: Negotiate with the landlord to reduce the fee or penalty outlined in the lease agreement. Present any valid reasons or extenuating circumstances that justify a lower fee, and be prepared to negotiate in good faith.

2. Review the Lease Agreement:

Before taking any further action, carefully review the terms of your lease agreement to understand the specific consequences of breaking the lease. Here’s what to consider:

  • Early Termination Clause: Pay close attention to the early termination clause in the lease agreement. Understand the exact fees or penalties associated with breaking the lease before the official move-in date.
  • Identify Loopholes or Exceptions: Look for any potential loopholes or exceptions in the lease agreement that might allow for a smoother withdrawal process. This could include clauses related to unforeseen circumstances or lease breaches by the landlord.

3. Seek Legal Advice (Optional):

If you’re dealing with a complex situation or facing significant financial penalties, it may be prudent to seek legal advice from a tenant lawyer. Here’s how they can assist you:

  • Legal Guidance: A tenant lawyer can provide legal guidance tailored to your specific situation and local regulations. They can help you understand your rights and options, as well as advise you on the best course of action to take.
  • Negotiation Support: A lawyer can also assist you in negotiating with the landlord, ensuring that your interests are protected and that any agreements reached are fair and legally binding.

It’s crucial to act promptly if you wish to withdraw your application after approval. The sooner you communicate with the landlord, the higher your chances of negotiating a favorable outcome and minimizing the potential consequences.

Remember, withdrawing after approval is a serious decision with significant implications. Weigh the consequences carefully and explore all possible options before making a final decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If You’ve Already Signed the Lease?

If you’ve already signed the lease, you are legally obligated to adhere to its terms, including paying rent for the entire duration of the lease agreement. Open communication is the best way to avoid confrontation.

What If I Cannot Reach the Landlord or Property Manager by Phone or Email?

If all attempts to reach them directly fail, consider calling the leasing office or visiting the property during business hours. If these methods are still unsuccessful, you may want to send a certified mail with a return receipt requested. This way, you have written documentation of your attempt to withdraw the application.

What Are Some Alternative Options to Cancelling My Application?

If your reason for withdrawal is related to concerns about the apartment itself, consider discussing these concerns with the landlord to see if they are willing to address them before you make a final decision. Alternatively, you can try to negotiate the lease terms. Negotiating with the landlord on aspects such as the rent amount or move-in date may make the apartment more suitable for your needs and potentially avoid the need to withdraw completely.


Canceling an apartment application may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a straightforward process. By understanding your application status, choosing the right communication method, maintaining professionalism, and considering additional factors, you can navigate the cancellation process with ease. Remember to document all communication, be aware of any potential fees, and seek legal advice if needed. With these steps in mind, you’ll cancel your apartment application seamlessly, paving the way for new opportunities in your rental search journey.