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Rental Application Form

What is a Rental Application Form?
A basic rental application is a two-page document used by a landlord to collect a minimal amount of personal information about the new tenant looking to apply for the rental. The form assists the landlord in vetting the applicant and helps to confirm rental history, employment, income, and more. The rental application form is the first step in the renting process.

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Rental application forms vary but usually require the prospective tenant to provide personal details including the their full name, social security number, date of birth, and prior address. Additional details generally include information regarding employment, income, pets, additional occupants, contact information, and more.

The rental application form also requests the prospective tenant to sign and date a consent section allowing the landlord to obtain a proper tenant screening report.

Once you've received a completed rental application the next step is to order a tenant screening report.

AAOA also offers a comprehensive rental application requiring the tenant to share more personal details which assists you in properly vetting them for your rental.

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What is a Basic Rental Application Form?

A basic rental application form is a form the prospective tenant completes when they are interested in renting a property. The applicant will provide information that allows the landlord to examine their background and decide whether or not they meet the criteria to rent the space. You can download and use AAOA’s simple rental application PDF to give to your applicants.

While you are free to inquire about personal information on your rental applications, you must always comply with fair housing laws. These laws forbid you to deny discriminating against applicants because of factors such as age, race, gender, and religion.

What Other Information is Included?

You can ask an applicant to provide information about a variety of different things on the basic rental application form.

This information may include:

  • Personal Information: Applicants will need to provide information like their name, current address, and date of birth so landlords are able to run background checks. You should also collect contact information such as their phone number and email address and contact information for an emergency contact.
  • Prior Rental History: Most simple application forms ask renters to provide their previous addresses as well as the names and phone numbers of previous landlords. You can also ask about previous rental payments and their reason for relocating.
  • Income and Employment: Applicants should provide proof of income and their current employment information. You can also ask the applicant to provide contact information for their supervisor at work so you can verify their employment situation.
  • Household: If other people will be residing in the home, their information will also need to be included in the application. If you allow pets in your rental unit, you should also ask them to provide information about their pets here.
  • Background Information: On a simple rental application, The background information section is where you can ask a series of yes or no questions to help you determine whether or not the applicant will make a suitable tenant. These questions can include asking about prior evictions, asking the applicant if anyone in the household is a smoker, and asking if the applicant has ever filed for bankruptcy.

The Purpose of a Basic Rental Application Form

To put it simply, a simple rental application form is used to screen prospective tenants who want to rent your property. Thoroughly screening applicants allows you to ensure that only people with a sound background and credit history are living in the units you own.

To break it down a bit more, standard rental applications serve a few other basic functions. These include:

  • Consent to Background and Credit Checks: In order to run credit and background checks on applicants, you’ll need their consent. The rental application form allows them to sign off on authorizing these checks.
  • Gives You All of the Information in One Place: Having a completed rental application form for each prospective tenant gives you all the necessary information in one place. This eliminates confusion and makes it easy to stay organized when processing the information.
  • Learn More About Your Prospective Tenant: In addition to the information you ask for on the basic rental application forms, you should have a conversation with the applicant and ask any questions you may have for them. You can make notes and keep this information with the application to refer to later.

Completing the Application Process

Before you give the applicant their form, be sure to disclose any fees you collect from them for running the background check. Once the applicant has completed the form and returned it to you, there are a few more steps you’ll need to complete the process.

  • Run the Credit and Background Check: Completing tenant credit checks and tenant background checks will allow you to see the applicant’s credit score and credit history as well as any information on any criminal record.
  • Verify Income: To verify the applicant’s income, you can use pay stubs. If the applicant is self-employed, use tax returns and bank statements.
  • Contact References: Contact the people listed as references on the simple application form, whether they be employers or previous landlords. Ask questions to find out if the applicant is a reliable and trustworthy person. You might ask former landlords if they paid the rent on time, were respectful of others in the building, and took care of the property. If you’re speaking with an employer, ask if they communicate well with others and are reliable employees.
  • Ask Follow-Up Questions: In some cases, you might have a few additional questions for the applicant after you’ve processed the basic renters application. Reach out for clarifying information if need be so you can make a decision as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this form, please feel free to contact AAOA. We will be happy to walk you through the process of using this for your own tenants.

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