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by Bill Gray
Financially, many landlords are shooting themselves in the foot.
The application process is normally the first place they do so. Incomplete and inaccurate rental applications cost landlords much needed profit. Nearly 50% of the applications I review are either missing information or are illegible.Sloppy applications speak negatively about the prospects filling them out, but they say even more about the landlord or property manager who accepts them. When a landlord accepts an incomplete or illegible application, he or she is telling the applicant, I dont care. Think about what seeds an I dont care attitude plants in the applicants head.If the landlord is not serious about the application and the information which may or may not be in it, what else is he lax with? If he is not serious about the application process, is he serious about the rent being due on the 1st of the month? If the landlord is unprofessional during the application process, is he serious about the prospective tenant taking good care of his rental unit?

The application has several important purposes, all of which rely on it being completed legibly.

Much of the information requested in an application is needed to sufficiently screen the tenant. When I see a sloppy application, my first thought is that the landlord is cutting corners in the screening of potential tenants. By the way, the reason I am called upon to look at the application and file is because the landlord is owed money by the very applicant who submitted a sloppy application. Now, he is turning to me for advice on collecting it. I firmly believe there is a direct correlation between the application/screening process and tenants who leave the property owing an average of $3,500.

The rental application should contain a space for at least one emergency contact. Completing this section should always be a requirement. Nobody wants to envision a situation where you need to contact someone in case of an emergency, but if you do, you will have the contact information to do so.

The property manager who is eager to rent seldom considers the last purpose of the rental application. The information on the application is invaluable in the collection process when the tenant is either evicted or abandons the property and the lease. In that case, an incomplete or illegible application makes collecting the debt difficult, if not impossible.

Require that your applicants complete the application in its entirety and legibly. Doing so will decrease debt and increase profit.

Copyright 2010 Bill Gray

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  • john Martin

    You are so right. Got star struck by the stated monthly income didn’t do a very good job on the application or pre screening. Now I am looking for the tenent and 4300+ dollars.
    Mine was a scam from the start. Sabrina Adams shows 7K a month for income moves in late in the month. Negotiates a reduced damage deposit with my business partner pays less than half a month rent. Now every excuse in the book on next months rent and damage deposit payment. Takes me another 6 weeks to get her out. House not destroyed but major cleaning. She skips no forwarding address. Learned a big lesson.

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