You may be asking yourself now, ‘’what is a rental application’’? Well, it is a document used by a landlord or property manager to assess prospective tenants who are interested in renting a room, unit, or property. It looks at the prospective tenant’s: background, employment, residential, household, and personal information. If a prospective tenant has a good record in all the above details, the homeowner or landlord will easily rent out his space for use.
However, there are applicable fair housing laws. These laws prevent discrimination due to race, religion, ethnic background or nationality, gender, age, family status, disability, and more. With these laws, prospective tenants do not have to worry about being discriminated against.
Why do I need a rental application?
It gives vital details about the renter’s background and history. The income and other financial conditions of the would-be tenants prompt the landlord to rent out his house or not to. He can rent it to the person if he gets the assurance that the person is hardworking, sincere, creditworthy, and able to pay the rent. The reverse is the case in the other way.
Do I have to use a rental application form?
This is not a must, but if you are a homeowner or landlord, it is very necessary. A rental application form can give valuable information in an easy-to-review format, whether you’re renting a single-family property, apartment, vacation rental or just a room in your house.
Does each tenant need to fill out a rental application?
No, only prospective tenants over 18 years of age should fill their own rental application. If you’re renting your property to multiple people, each person can list co-applicants on their tenant application form, but everyone over 18 should also complete their own application. It is simple to fill.
What is the average rental application fee?
The typical rental application fee among renters who paid one is $50, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019. However, this covers the cost of performing a credit and background check. The fees vary by location — some states allow landlords to charge a market-based rental application fee while others do not.
How are rental application fees collected?
What should I include in a rental application?
Rental applications ask for the following details:
1. Personal information
This includes common identification factors like:
Note that fair housing laws consider age a protected class, so only ask for an applicant’s age if necessary for verifying their identity or if your rental is in an age-restricted community.
2. Household information
This section includes the number of people that will be living in the home, if they have pets and when they will be able to move in. 53% of rental households include pets: Choosing to allow pets is up to you, but a large percentage of renters immediately pass up a property with pet restrictions.
- 79% of renters live with another person:: list all occupants on the application, and have all applicants over 18 complete their own applications as well.
3. Residential history
Provide a residential history for the past three years, including rentals, owned properties and other living situations. You’ll want to gather:
- Get all their current address and any previous addresses in the past three years.
- The dates they lived in each residence.
- Monthly rent or mortgage payments.
- Names and contact information for previous landlords.
- Their reason for moving.
To use the previous landlord’s contact information as a reference for your applicants — inform him/her before time.
4. Employment and income
This section demands:
- Current employer’s name and address
- Applicant’s job title, monthly gross income, and additional sources of income.
- Length of employment, phone number, email address, and supervisor’s name.
With the permission of the applicant, you can contact his/her employer to verify his employment details.
5. Background information
This section asks some yes/no questions about major issues that may affect your decision to accept or deny your application for a home rental. They include questions like:
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy in the past seven years?
- Have you ever been evicted from a rental?
- Do you smoke?
To do this, you MUST get an applicant’s permission to run credit and background checks, as well as to contact their employer and landlord for references. Make sure your disclosure is worded according to landlord-tenant laws and complies with all applicable fair housing laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It should as well include:
- The amount of the application processing fee (and whether it’s refundable)
- Holding deposit paid by the applicant and the total holding deposit (if applicable)
- Address of the residence being held (if applicable)
7. Signature and completion date
It’s very important for the prospective tenant to sign his name and write the take he/she filled the form. This acknowledges that both the landlord and the applicant have read the application and agree to its terms. A lot of people prefer to do this online, though.
How does the tenant screening process work?
Once all prospective tenants have completed their rental application, you can proceed with the tenant screening process. Read below to know what to do.
- Conduct a tenant background check: As a landlord, this is very important. Am sure you don’t want thieves, smugglers, or bad people living in your house. You don’t also want people with bad credit history too. Conduct thorough backgrounds check even if it is manually before renting out your house to anyone.
- Run a credit report: this helps to ensure that the applicant has enough income to afford rent. A credit report will show if they’re making current payments on time if they have any prior bankruptcies or evictions, and if their prior residences match what’s on their application.
- Verify employment and income: Call the applicant’s employer to make sure their income matches what’s on the application. You can also request the applicant’s most recent pay stubs. This option is even better and more practical.
- Inquire from former landlords to verify rental history: You should ask their current or former landlord if the applicant paid rent on time, took good care of the property, and whether the landlord would rent to them again. By doing this, you will be able to properly decide to rent or not to rent out your house.
- Choose an applicant: Fair housing laws prevent discrimination based on several protected classes, comply with federal, state, and local laws when you decide to accept or deny an applicant.
- Draft a rental lease agreement: This will outline the terms and conditions of your property. This may include when to pay rent, how much to pay if the tenant can keep pets or not, how many people can live on the property, and so on.