You have decided to rent out a property that you own and between fixing it up and trying to find a suitable lease, you have not had any time to worry about application forms for potential tenants.
Screening your applicants is very important if you are going to rent out an apartment. Simply interviewing people and using an application form you make yourself is never a good idea.
Using a standard application form is a great way to screen tenants. you will have all the information you need in one place. You will also avoid any issues of discrimination when you have every applicant fill out the same form. The form itself must be compliant with the Fair Housing Act.
According to the website, ezLandlordForms, what qualifies as a legal application may vary from state to state. It is best to get a lease from a website that specializes in landlord-tenant documents or go to an attorney and have them create an application for you.
Information to Ask For
Any good rental application form will ask for certain basic information in addition to the person’s name and date of birth. Make sure that the application you buy asks for the following details.
- Phone number
- Current address
- Driver’s license or state ID information
- Social Security Number
- State ID
- Place of Employment
- Criminal Record
Just asking questions is not enough. You should get proof of everything your applicant tells you. Your lease should state that you will verify all of the information that you have been given.
Be sure to make copies of their driver’s license and social security card. You should ask for their last three pay stubs or bank statements to make sure that their income is what they say it is. You may also run a credit report on them. In most states, you can charge applicants a fee to cover the cost of running a credit report and running a background check.
Be Sure You Comply With Fair Housing
There are laws in the United States that forbid you from discriminating against people based
on race, sex, creed, religion, familial status, or age. You cannot refuse to rent to them if they have a disability, so it is important to know what is considered a disability.
Recovering alcoholics who are in a program such as Alcoholics Anonymous are protected, and so are recovering drug addicts because they are considered disabled. Alcoholics and drug addicts who are currently using are not protected under these same laws.
You are allowed to ask an applicant for their date of birth for identity purposes, but you may not discriminate against them because of their age. It is a good idea to simply ask for their month and day of birth to avoid any false accusations of bias.
You may ask someone if they have ever been convicted of a felony, but you may not ask them if they have ever been accused of a felony. Language is very important when you create any legal document, and that is why it is important to use professionally prepared documents.
Renting a property can be an exciting business venture. Using the right application will help to ensure your tenants are responsible and will pay their rent.