Rental Application Form

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Updated April 13, 2023

A rental application allows a landlord to collect a tenant’s personal and employment information in order to run a consumer report (credit check). A non-refundable fee may be required that is commonly equal to the landlord’s cost for screening the tenant.

Commercial Rental Application – For verifying a commercial tenant.

After Screening the Tenant

By State

Table of Contents

By Type (5)

Assoc. of Realtors Version

Download: Adobe PDF

National Landlords Assoc. Version

Download: Adobe PDF

On-Site Version

Download: Adobe PDF

Simple Version

Download: Adobe PDF

Zillow Version

Download: Adobe PDF

How to Run a Background Check (6 steps)

Step 1 – Tenant Completes the Rental Application

Rental Application

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument




In most cases, after the tenant has viewed the property and a verbal agreement has been made the rental application is completed. Attached to it is the required Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Disclosure detailing the tenant’s rights.

Once this rental application has been completed by the tenant it should be returned to the landlord and along with the application fee.

Non-Refundable Fee ($) – The tenant should be charged for conducting the following verifications (between $18 to $100). In addition, it shows their level of interest in the property.

Step 2 – Obtain a Credit Report

graph showing credit score distribution by age

Generally, a credit score above 620 is credible by most landlords and property management companies.

All of the companies mentioned below allow the landlord to view the tenant’s criminal history and credit report. The landlord will have to choose which service to use based on whether they received the completed and signed rental application from the prospective tenant.

If the landlord has received a completed application:

If the landlord has not received a completed application:

*All fees are billed to the applicant.

Step 3 – Verify Employment

landlord verifying employment information with applicant

The landlord will now need to verify employment and income to ensure the tenant can afford the monthly rent. This usually requires the following:

Step 4 – Communicate with Former Landlords

landlord on phone with applicant's former landlord

Use the section of the rental application marked ‘RENTAL HISTORY‘ to contact past landlords of the applicant and verify items such as:

  • Was the applicant ever late on rent? If so, how many months in the lease span were they late?
  • Was the applicant ever served a notice to quit or evicted? If so, what was it for?
  • Was the applicant a loud tenant?
  • Did the applicant leave the previous residence clean and in good standing when they vacated?
  • Was the applicant nice around the other tenants (if any)?

The above questions will give the landlord peace of mind that the individual they are allowing to stay in their residential unit is a good investment and will benefit the community.

Step 5 – Check the Sex Offender Registry

landlord checking national sex offender registry on laptop

The landlord may check the Sex Offender Registry in their State to determine if the applicant is listed. It is unlawful (Fair Housing Act) for a landlord to deny a potential tenant for being in this registry. Although, if the landlord can prove that the person poses a danger to others on the property then not only can the landlord deny the individual but if they are already moved in they can have them evicted.

National Search Offender Query – Use in addition to your State’s Registry for best results.

Step 6 – Make a Decision

landlord reviewing rental application

If the tenant generally has a credit score of 620, a stable job/income, with no blemishes on their criminal history then the tenant has a good chance of approval by the landlord.

Maximum Rental App Fees ($)

State Maximum App Fee ($) Laws
 Alabama No limit No statute
 Alaska No limit Landlord-Tenant Handbook Page 5
 Arizona No limit ARS 33-1321(B)
 Arkansas No limit No statute
 California  $52.46 Cal. Civ. Code § 1950.6
 Colorado No limit Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-903
 Connecticut No limit No statute
 Delaware 10% of the monthly rent or $50.00 Del. Code tit. 25 § 5514(d)
 Florida No limit No statute
 Georgia No limit No statute
 Hawaii No limit No statute
 Idaho No limit No statute
 Illinois No limit No statute
 Indiana No limit No statute
 Iowa No limit No statute
 Kansas No limit No statute
 Kentucky No limit No statute
 Louisiana No limit No statute
 Maine No limit No statute
 Maryland No limit (landlord must return unspent application fees over $25 within 15 days of receipt) Md. Code, Real. Prop. § 8-213
 Massachusetts Landlords may not charge (only  brokers and agents permitted) Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 186 § 15B(1)(b)
 Michigan No limit No statute
 Minnesota No limit Minn. Sat. § 504B.173
 Mississippi No limit No statute
 Missouri No limit No statute
 Montana No limit No statute
 Nebraska No limit No statute
 Nevada No limit No statute
 New Hampshire No limit No statute
 New Jersey No limit No statute
 New Mexico No limit No statute
 New York Cost of background check or $20, whichever is less N.Y Real Prop. Law § 238-A.1(b)
 North Carolina No limit No statute
 North Dakota No limit No statute
 Ohio No limit No statute
 Oklahoma No limit No statute
 Oregon No more than the average cost of screening applicants or the customary amount charged by tenant screening companies Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.295
 Pennsylvania No limit No statute
 Rhode Island No limit No statute
 South Carolina No limit No statute
 South Dakota No limit No statute
 Tennessee No limit No statute
 Texas No limit No statute
 Utah No limit No statute
 Vermont Not permitted for residential tenancy Vt. Stat. tit. 9 § 4456a
 Virginia $50.00 (not including extra expenses for performing background checks) Va. Code § 55.1-1203(C)
 Washington No limit, but all costs must only be incurred in obtaining screening reports Wash. Rev. Code § 59.18.257(1)(b)
Washington D.C. No limit No statute
West Virginia No limit W. Va. Code § 37-6A-1(2)
 Wisconsin No limit, but a landlord may only charge a maximum of $20 for a credit check Wis. Admin. Code ATCP § 134.05
 Wyoming No limit No statute

How to Write

1 – Obtain A Workable Copy Of The Desired Application Form

Download: Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (.docx), Open Document Text (.odt)

Application Requirement

(1) Non-Refundable Fee. Record the fee that must be submitted with this application to cover the cost of its review by the Landlord or Property Owner. Generally, this is a non-refundable fee that will not be returned regardless of the outcome of this application.

The Property

(2) Property Type. The property being applied for should be categorized properly. Document this information by classifying the concerned property as an apartment, house, condo, coop, etc.

(3) Square Feet. The physical space the property being discussed occupies must be defined in feet. Thus, report its dimensions where requested.

(4) Bedrooms. Present the number of bedrooms found on the premises being applied for.

(5) Rent Amount. The prospective Tenant will be required to pay for a monthly rent if awarded a lease. Establish the payment amount that must be received as the monthly rent by reporting in this area of the application.

(6) Address. The geographical location of the concerned property must be defined with its physical address. This information is expected as separate components (i.e. “Street Address,” “City,” etc.) make sure to document the exact address using the areas available.

(7) Pets. If the potential Tenant will be able to keep pets on the premises, then select the “Yes” checkbox. Otherwise, select the “No” box to solidify that no pets will be allowed to live on the property

(8) Smoking. If smoking is allowed on the concerned property, mark the checkbox labeled “Yes.” If no smoking will be allowed inside the concerned property, place a mark in the “No” box.

(9) Parking. Some properties will include access to a parking spot for the Tenant should his or her application proceed successfully. If so, locate the “Yes” checkbox then select it. Additionally, use the space provided to define where the parking spot associated with the property can be found and accessed. If not parking space will be available to the prospective Tenant, then the “No” box should be marked.


(10) Type/Length. The lease that will be offered as a result of a successful application should be defined by type (i.e. fixed-term or month-to-month). If there will be a fixed time period of leasing for the premises, then document the number of years and/or months defining its lifetime.

(11) Start Date. Document the expected starting date for an awarded lease. This will be the first calendar date when the potential Tenant will be expected to occupy and pay rent for the concerned property. 

Applicant Details

(12) Full Name. The entire name of the Applicant (the potential Tenant) should be included with this paperwork.

(13) DOB. Present the Applicant’s calendar date of birth.

(14) SSN. The potential Tenant’s social security number will be expected with this application. This will help in identifying the prospective Tenant when a background check or credit check is conducted.

(15) Driver’s License No. A valuable picture identification of the Tenant is often considered to be his or her Driver’s License. Support the potential Tenant’s identity by transcribing his or her driver’s license number to this document.

(16) Applicant’s Contact Phone Number.

(17) Applicant’s Contact E-Mail.

(18) Other Occupants. List the full name of every person that would live on the concerned property with the potential Tenant should this application proceed to a lease.

(19) Pets. If the potential Tenant intends to keep pets on the property, then select the “Yes” box and use the space provided to give an adequate description of each pet. For instance, if the pet is a cat, then document the animal’s breed, weight, age, and height. If not, then only the “No” box should be selected.

(20) Vehicles. Select the “Yes” box if the Applicant will have a vehicle while leasing the property. If so, then use the area available to describe every vehicle (i.e. make, model, year, and color). If the prospective Tenant will not have a vehicle while occupying the premises, then mark the box labeled “No.”

(21) Conviction. If the Applicant has been convicted of a crime in the past, then select the “Yes” box and provide an explanation for the conviction but if the Applicant has not been convicted of a crime, the “No” box should be selected.

(22) Bankruptcy. Either the “Yes” or “No” box must be selected to indicate if the Applicant has declared bankruptcy in the past. If so, the “Yes” box should be marked and the details (concerning the Applicant’s bankruptcy) delivered to the space provided.

(23) Eviction. The “Yes” box should be chosen if the Applicant has been evicted. If not, then “No” should be selected. An explanation for every eviction on the Applicant’s record should be provided to the available area.

Current Employment

(24) Company. Naturally, the Property Owner or Landlord will wish to make sure that the Applicant will be able to pay the rent expected for the property. In many cases, the Applicant will use income from employment for this obligation. If this is the case and the Applicant is currently employed, produce the name of the Company where the Applicant is employed

(25) Occupation/Title. A record of the Applicant’s job title or profession should be furnished.

(26) Employment Period. The length of time that the Applicant has been employed at his or her current job should be reported in years, months, and/or weeks.

(27) Gross Income. The applicant’s official gross income from the year before should be dispensed (i.e. income before taxes are applied).

(28) Employer Address. The mailing address where the Applicant’s Employer can be reached must be included in this discussion.

(29) Supervisor. The full name of the Applicant’s Supervisor (at his or her place of employment) should be presented.

Previous Employment

(30) Company. Generally, an Applicant’s work history can prove his or her ability to maintain a lease. The name of the Company or Business where he or she worked before his or her current place of employment should be presented. This previous Employer must be identified with its full name.

(31) Occupation/Title. The professional title held by the Applicant at his or her previous place of employment should be delivered to this area.

(32) Employment Period. Document the length of time the Applicant worked for his or her previous Employer where requested.

(33) Gross Income. The yearly gross income the Applicant earned with his or her last place of Employment must be displayed as part of this work history.

(34) Employer Address.

(35) Supervisor. Complete this report with the full name of the Employer’s previous Supervisor.

Current Residence

(36) Residence Type. The current residence of the Applicant should be defined in this section. Begin by properly classifying the type of property the Applicant is currently engaged in (i.e. apartment, house, etc.).

(37) Square Feet.

(38) Number Of Bedrooms.

(39) Rent Amount. Record the dollar amount the Applicant pays as monthly rent to reside at his or her current residence.

(40) Current Residential Address. The physical address of the Applicant’s current residence must be furnished to this application.

(41) Residential Term. The number of years, months, and/or weeks that the Applicant has resided at his or her current residence is required for this area.

(42) Current Lease Expiration. Document the calendar date defining when the lease the Applicant presently maintains terminates or officially ends.

(43) Desire For Moving. An area has been included so that a report on why the Applicant seeks to move from his or her current residence can be furnished. 

Current Landlord

(44) Landlord Name. The Applicant’s current Landlord should be identified by name and address. Begin with his or her full name. If the Applicant’s current Landlord is a Property Management Company, then document the full name of this Entity (including any relevant status suffix needed for its name)

(45) Landlord Address. A report on the current address of the Applicant’s Landlord is required with his or her name

(46) Landlord Contact Phone Number And Email.

Previous Residence – 1

(47) Residence Type. Every Landlord or Property Manager reviewing this application will wish to see some form of leasing history for the Applicant. This means that the last place of residence the Applicant leased must be identified. Begin by classifying the type of property he or she leased (i.e. house, apartment, basement apartment, etc.).

(48) Square Feet.

(49) Number Of Bedrooms.

(50) Rent Amount. Dispense a record of the monthly rent the Applicant paid to satisfy the lease requirements of his or her previous residence

(51) Previous Residential Address. Use the space provided to display the physical address of the property the Applicant previously leased.

(52) Residential Term. A report on the lifespan of the Applicant’s previous lease should be dispensed by documenting the first date and the last date of its effect.

Previous Landlord – 1

(53) Name. The previous Landlord of the Applicant may be contacted as a result of this application. Thus, a production of his or her full legal name is required.

(54) Address. The mailing address where the Applicant’s previous Landlord can be contacted must accompany this Party’s name.

(55) Phone And E-Mail.

Previous Residence – 2

(56) Residence Type. The residential history of the potential Tenant or Applicant should continue with the second to last lease he or she has held. Therefore, document the type of property behind the second to last lease held by the Applicant.

(57) Square Feet. The number of square feet making up the second to last property the Applicant leased must be presented.

(58) Number Of Bedrooms.

(59) Rent Amount. The monthly rent payment the Applicant paid to live in his or her second to last premises is required to fully define his or her second to last lease.

(60) Current Residential Address. Dispense the physical address of the second to last premises maintained by the Applicant.

(61) Residential Term. The date range (first and last calendar date) making up the second to last lease the Applicant held should be recorded.

Previous Landlord – 2

(62) Name. Now that the second to last premises leased by the potential Tenant has been defined, the full name of the Landlord or Property Manager who participated in the second to last lease held by the Applicant must be reported.

(63) Landlord Contact Address.

(64) Landlord Contact Phone And Email.

Personal References

(65) Full Name. The Applicant should be able to produce references from his or her family, friends, and acquaintances. This person may be contacted by the Property Owner or Landlord reviewing this application thus, document the full name of the Applicant’s first personal reference.

(66) Relationship. The way the Applicant’s first personal reference knows the Applicant must be explained, thus present this Party’s status as the Applicant’s friend, relative (i.e. Brother, Parent), or neighbor.

(67) First Personal Reference’s Contact E-Mail And Phone.

(68) Second Personal Reference’s Full Name And Relationship. A majority of Property Managers reviewing this application will request more than one personal reference. To this end, a second area where the full name of the Applicant’s Second Personal Reference can be documented as well as the relationship held between this Second Personal Reference and the Applicant is included. Supply the identity and relationship of the Applicant’s Second Personal Reference to the available space.

(69) Second Applicant’s Contact E-Mail And Phone.

(70) Third Personal Reference’s Full Name And Relationship. The final area should be utilized to present the full name and relationship of the Applicant’s Third Personal Reference along with the information needed to identify and contact the Third Reference.

(71) E-Mail And Phone.

Financial Information

(72) Bank. Generally speaking, the Applicant will be expected to have at least one bank account. Report the name of the Bank where the Applicant stores his or her funds.

(73) Account Number. A record of the Applicant’s account number with the bank named above must be disclosed.

(74) Routing Number. Every U.S. Bank has a routing number (typically found on the face of the Applicant’s paper check). Document this number.

(75) Branch Location. Furnish the address where the Applicant’s bank can be contacted.

(76) Account Type. The type of account held by the Applicant should be disclosed with the above information. For instance, a checking account or a savings account.

(77) Bank. If the Applicant holds a second account, then dispense the name of the Bank where this account is held.

(78) Account Number And Routing Number. Document the Applicant’s second account number along with the routing number of the Bank where it is held.

(79) Branch Location. The mailing address needed to formally contact the Applicant’s bank should be documented.

(80) Account Type. Categorize the Applicant’s second account as a checking account or as a savings account.

(81) Credit Card. Potential Tenants are likely to have one or more credit cards. This information should be included with this applicant. Thus, furnish the name of the Financial Institution that has dispensed the Applicant’s credit card to the first section of the area provided.

(82) Card Number. Transcribe the Applicant’s credit card number from the face of his or her card to the area provided.

(83) Limit. Disclose the maximum amount of credit the Applicant’s credit card makes available to the Applicant.

(84) Card Type. In most cases, the Applicant will hold a MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover, and/or Diner’s Club card. Regardless of what kind of credit card the Applicant holds, classify it accordingly by selecting the appropriate checkbox

(85) Second Credit Card. As mentioned earlier, the Applicant may have one or more credit cards. If so, then present the name of the Financial Institution that has issued the Applicant’s second credit card, the account or card number of this second credit card, and the maximum amount the Applicant can access through this credit card then indicate the type of credit card being discussed.

(86) Third Credit Card. If the Applicant has a third credit card, then the Financial Institution that has issued the Applicant’s third credit card must be identified. Additionally, the card number, credit limit, and card type of this third card must be presented.

Consent And Acknowledgment

(87) Applicant’s Signature. This application must be signed by the potential Tenant seeking the concerned property.

(88) Date. After signing this application, the Potential Tenant must produce the current date.

California Applicant Authorization

(89) Signature. If the Applicant is a California Resident, then he or she must deliver specific authorization for the Landlord or Property Owner receiving this application to run a consumer report. This approval can only be proven with the Applicant’s signature.

(90) Name Printed. The Applicant must print his or her name after signing it.

(91) Date. The calendar date when the Applicant has delivered his or her signature approval for the Landlord/Property Owner to run a consumer background report is required once the Applicant signs his or her name.

(92) Request Copy Of Investigative Consumer Reports. The Signature California Applicant can request a copy of any consumer report run on him or her and obtained by the Property Owner or Landlord. To make this request the California Applicant must initial the appropriate statement.

(93) Request A Consumer Report. If the Applicant is a California Resident and wishes to receive a consumer report as a result of this application,

regardless of whether the Property Owner or Landlord intends on obtaining one for this application, then the second statement must be initialed by the Applicant.