A rental application allows a property manager to obtain information from prospective tenants who are interested in renting residential property. Basic information requested includes current and past rental history, and credit and employment related information. The prospective tenant also verifies that the information provided is true and correct. The rental application also needs to have the prospective tenant consent to a background and credit check by the property manager. The information on the rental application will be helpful in assisting the property manager in making the decision to either rent or not rent the property to the prospective tenant.
Residential Rental Application Instructions
The rental application should be signed by the prospective tenant and by any spouse that will be residing on the rental property.
If a second adult will be renting the property, it is recommended that they complete a separate rental application form.
The property manager should complete a thorough investigation of the prospective tenant (and tenant’s spouse) based on the information that is provided on the rental application. The property manager should keep copies of any correspondence related to the rental application and written notes of any telephone conversations with and relating to the prospective tenant.
Property managers are required to keep the signed rental application a minimum of 2 years and may be required to supply Landlord2Landlord with the signed application. Failure to produce signed applications will result in the termination of access to future credit information. A copy of the credit report may be given to the prospective tenant. However, the credit bureaus discourage the practice.
It is recommended to request, from the applicant(s), some type of identification (i.e. drivers license, passport, (photo identification is required in the state of California), after the rental application is completed by the applicant. This will allow the property manager to verify and compare complete names, omissions, misspellings, dates and other critical information, which may contaminate the search.
The property manager should ensure that all the information provided by the prospective tenant(s) is legible, “makes sense”, and that the information matches the rental application.
Credit information in the United States was originally gathered by thousands of independent credit bureaus. Therefore, credit reports are not a social security or name search to a central database. If an applicant once lived in another state or in a different part of the state where another credit bureau gathered the applicant’s information, the information does not update the main credit bureau’s credit file until the previous address is provided.
Failures or “no hit” credit reports, which are still billable, occur primarily due to failure to obtain and input previous address information. The old saying, “junk in, junk out” is quite appropriate in this industry.
If the applicant does not meet the property manager’s criteria, the property manager should document the reason for the decision. Decisions to reject a rental application should be made in good faith and for legitimate legal reasons. The property manager should not discriminate against any applicant on any illegal or unlawful basis, this includes race, religion, sex, color, age, disability, family status, national origin, sexual orientation, or ant other basis prohibited by local and or state laws.
Federal law requires that a written notice be sent to any applicant that is rejected or has the terms of the rental policy changed. Applicants must be told where the information came from that caused the application to be rejected or the terms changed. This letter can be automatically generated in the members’ area of Landlord2Landlord membersportal.