What to include in rental application as a landlord?

Property Management Blog

One tool in the hands of all landlords for tenant screening is the document called rental application. Through this document, the landlord comes to know about the potential tenant to then decide whether to allow potential tenant in or reject his application. The landlord needs to verify every bit of information that the applicant has provided with the most important being credit history, tenant history, employment history, and of course his criminal antecedents. What should a landlord include in this rental application to be able to screen tenants wisely?

Three things rental application should make clear

Rental application as a tool should be able to achieve the objectives of the landlord. To be able to do so, there are three main things that this rental application should do. Firstly, it should be able to confirm the identity of the applicant Secondly, it should confirm whether the applicant will be able to pay his monthly rent on time or not. Thirdly, it should throw enough light on the nature and character of the applicant so that you can take an informed decision about his tenancy.

Important questions to ask

Rental application form needs to be simple, easy to read and fill up, and as short as possible. Very long application forms can be boring for applicants and they may ignore or hide details if the questions happen to be very specific and personal. However, there are some details that are essential, and the following list includes such questions that reveal the identity and nature of the applicant.

  • What is your legal name?
  • What is your legal address?
  • What is your phone number and email ID?
  • Give information about your current and previous employment
  • Give your addresses for the last 5 years
  • What are your income details?
  • Have you ever been evicted by a landlord?
  • Have you ever been convicted in a crime?
  • Have you ever filed for a bankruptcy?
  • Do you have pets (if yes, specify them)?
  • Give details of your family members
  • Banks where you and family have accounts
  • What is your emergency contact number?
  • Can you give references for your credit?
  • Give references of your past and current employers
  • Your signature specimen

This is only a sample list of questions and you can include many more depending upon your situation and the requirement of your rental property. With the help of the answers given by a potential tenant, you can easily find out if he can afford your monthly rent and if they are going to turn out to be a good quality tenant or not. If they meet the criteria you have set for tenancy in your rental property, you can allow him in. Otherwise, you can reject the application of the individual.

It should be your endeavor to keep your rental application form as simple as it can be. There is no need to ask open ended questions that can be used by the applicant to trick you into thinking he is a very good fellow. Important thing for you is to remain neutral and not be someone who is discriminating on the basis of religion, creed, and nationality, color of skin, gender, or profession. You cannot reject application of a disabled applicant by saying so on his face. Similarly, you can be taken to court if you say you will not give tenancy to a widow or a divorcee. Your decision to reject the application of a potential renter should be based upon objective questions only. Otherwise, be prepared to be hauled in a court of law.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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