Rental Application Form

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The Residential Rental Application is a document that allows a landlord to make an assessment of a potential tenant’s employment, background, credit, and prior leasing history (through references) to make the decision of allowing him or her to lease their property. The landlord may request a fee (usually between $25 and $75) for performing a credit and background check. When complete, typically after 24-48 hours, the landlord will have the decision whether to approve or disapprove the tenant’s application.

If Approved – The landlord and tenant should authorize a lease agreement.

Commercial (Business) Rental Application – To perform a credit check on a business entity (tenant).

How to Run a Background Check – Use these instructions to learn how to run a free credit report and conduct a criminal background check.

By State

How Does a Rental Application Work?

Simply speaking, a rental application allows a landlord to screen each applicant’s credibility. Each applicant will likely have to fill out an application and submit a few fees including a processing fee, application fee, and security deposit. The security deposit will be returned within a set time if the applicant is denied.

Landlords want to see that their renters are financially and socially responsible enough to live in the apartment or house in question. The application process allows them to ensure beforehand that an applicant can pay rent on time, live respectfully among other tenants, and adhere to any qualifications or rules the landlord might have. Rental applications are the best way to understand how responsible an individual is and their character.

Often, landlords will let the applicants know what materials are needed in order to make the application up front. Potential renters should expect to provide their SSN, present two or more pay stubs, have a few references handy, and pay a rental application fee. They may be asked to provide a deposit or other information about debts and bank accounts.

The applications themselves will ask for a few common things, such as:

  • The applicant’s name
  • A current address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Email address
  • Previous address information
  • Emergency contacts
  • Employment and income information
  • Background information (This may include questions regarding criminal charges or previous bankruptcies)
  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle information
  • Personal references
  • Pets (if applicable)

Legally, landlords cannot reject an application due to race, religion, ethnic background or nationality, gender, age, family status, or disabilities. They will do credit checks, criminal background checks, check rental history and verify past addresses, look at work history including income and financial position, and confirm personal references as a common part of the application process. This allows landlords to understand the renter’s background, history and character. They will check if a potential tenant has ever been evicted, take a look at credit scores, verify identity and call prior landlords and employers.

Landlords will further use the information an applicant gives them to check the credit information provided to ensure that it is correct and reliable. They look at income minimums and other financial conditions to ensure that the applicant is financially fit to live in the apartment. Landlords seem to care a lot about employment, wages, and track record, but this is only to make sure the applicants make enough money to pay rent and pay rent reliably.

Landlords don’t care about the type of apartment their tenants lived in last or if they have fancy jobs with important titles, but they do want to know that the tenant can and will pay on time. Answering all questions on the application truthfully will give any potential renter their best shot at getting the apartment. If a landlord finds major flaws with the validity of the application, he or she will be less likely to rent the apartment, but if the application reflects the truth, the landlord may choose to forgive minor problems a potential tenant had in the past.

Landlords may charge applicants a fee along with the rest of the application. This is to cover the cost of the credit check and should be around $20-$30. Applicants that are looking at multiple apartments may find that getting a credit check themselves and making copies of it to give to landlords will cut down on costs. Some landlords may still require that they get the report themselves to make sure nothing has been altered, but some may take the provided report and save the applicant a little money up front.

Each landlord will have his or her own rules about smoking or pets within the apartment or house they are renting. They are legally allowed to enforce these rules, so it’s best to be upfront with any questions or concerns.

How to Run a Background Check

Conduct a tenant background check for a landlord or property manager to screen an individual’s criminal history, credit report, employment status, eviction history, and past rental references. This information can be obtained from the prospective tenant by requiring them to provide personal information which includes a consent waiver that allows the landlord to lookup their personal details.

The following will show a landlord how to conduct a tenant screening 100% free. When a landlord is accepting applicants for a vacant residential property the tenant is the person that will be paying for the service. This allows the landlord to give their time to committed tenants as well as not have out of pocket expenses related to tenants that don’t qualify.

Step 1 – Tenant Completes the Rental Application

Typically 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 listing the tenant their rights. Once this form has been completed by the tenant it should be returned to the landlord and along with the application fee.

Fee – The tenant should be charged for conducting the following verifications (between $35 to $100). In addition, it shows their level of interest in the property.

No Application From Tenant – If the tenant cannot fill in the application for the landlord then the tenant is able to fill in their information online by entering their personal data into the background check service’s website directly.

Step 2 – Obtain Credit Report

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 / Income

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

Step 4 – Verify Rental History

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 – Sex Offender Registry

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

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.

How to Write

1 – Obtain A Workable Copy Of The Desired Application Form

Download this document as an Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word (.docx) File using one of the buttons in the caption area of the image. If you do not have a way of editing this onscreen as a PDF or Word file you may either print it as a PDF using your browser then fill it out or you may open it as an Open Document Text (.odt) file with most word processing programs.

2 – The Applicant Must Furnish Some Identifying Information

This form has been structured so the Applicant may present his or her information in a clear and concise manner. Before presenting it to him or her, fill in the Application Fee on the blank line labeled “Non-Refundable Fee.”

The first section, “The Property” shall requires some basic information regarding the Residential Property the Applicant seeks to rent. Begin by filling in what type of Property is being applied for on the blank space labeled “Type (Apt, Home, Condo).” This should be followed with the total number of Square Feet in the concerned Property. Present this information on the blank space just following the label “Square Feet (SF).” The next two items will also seek to define the Residential Property being applied for. Enter the total number of Bedrooms and the Monthly Rent the Applicant must pay for the Rental using the two spaces on the next line labeled “Bedrooms” and “Rent Amount” (respectively). The Address where the Residential Property is physically should be produced in this section as well. A separate space for each component of the Property Address has been supplied so the “Street Address,” “City,” “State,” and “Zip” Code can be clearly presented. If the Property will allow the Applicant to move in with or acquire and take care of any Pets while living there, then mark the “Yes” checkbox after the label “Pets?” If not, then mark the checkbox labeled “No.”

The next set of checkboxes “Smoking Allowed?” will define whether the Applicant will be allowed to smoke in the Rental or not. If so, mark the box labeled “Yes.” If not, then select the box labeled “No.” 

Finally, we will address the topic of “Parking.” If the Applicant will have access to one or more parking spaces while renting this Property, select the “Yes” checkbox after the label “Parking?” Otherwise, mark the box labeled “No.” If the Residential Property does have parking available, describe where and how the Applicant may access the Parking Space on the blank line following the statement “If Yes, Describe Parking.”    

Finally, in the section labeled “Tenancy,” the time frame when the Residential Unit is available for rent will be solidified. Use the “Type/Length” line the Unit will be rented for to define either how long the Lease will last in Years, Months, etc. Or, record the type of Lease (i.e. Yearly, Monthly, etc.). Then use the space after the words “Start Date” to report the First Calendar Date when this Unit may be leased. If this is inapplicable, you may leave it blank, write in the words “To Be Determined,” or write in the words “Non-Applicable.”

3 – A Report Regarding The Living Arrangements Of The Applicant Should Be Produced

Now, it will be time for some information the Applicant must fill in. In “Applicant Details,” the person applying for the Rental Property must present his or her Full Name, Birth Date, and Social Security Number on the lines labeled “Full Name,” “DOB” (Date OF Birth), and “SSN” (Social Security Number).  Next, the Applicant must supply his or her “Driver’s License No.” and Contact “Phone” Number, and Contact “E-Mail” Address to the appropriately labeled spaces. The Applicant must then mark the checkbox labeled “Yes” or “No” to indicate if he or she will be living with additional people on the premises. If so, then he or she should define everyone that will be living in the rental on the blank space labeled “If Yes, Describe.” For example, “John Doe -Brother,” “Jane Doe – Wife,” etc. If the Prospective Tenant will have “Pets” or intends to have “Pets” then he or she must mark the checkbox labeled “Yes” and describe the Pets that will be on the premises (i.e. 35 lb. dog, German Shepard/pit bull mix). If the Applicant will not have Pets, then he or she should mark the checkbox labeled “No.” If the Applicant has a Vehicle, then he or she should place a mark in the checkbox after the word “Vehicles?” then define his or her Vehicle on the blank space below it (For Instance: 1998 Buick Skylark, dark brown, License Plate # XXX-XXXX). If this is not the case, the Applicant should mark the checkbox labeled “No.”

4 – Relevant Background Information Must Be Self-Reported By The Applicant

The Applicant will have to reveal some information regarding his or her background considered relevant to most Residential Lease Applications. To begin, the Applicant should mark either the “Yes” or “No” checkbox after the words “Ever Been Convicted Of A Crime?” to indicate if he or she has a criminal record. If so, a space has been provided below this question to supply more details regarding his or her conviction(s).  The Applicant must indicate if he or she has “Ever Filed For Bankruptcy?” using the checkboxes labeled “Yes” or “No.” If so, he or she should furnish some details regarding the Bankruptcy on the blank space presented below this question. The final question in this series will be “Ever Been Evicted?” If so, then he or she will have to select “Yes” from the checkboxes provided then supply some information regarding past Evictions in the space below. If not, the Applicant simply must mark the “No” checkbox.

5 – The Applicant’s Employment History Should Be Detailed

Most Landlords/Property Managers, if not all, would like some report regarding an Applicant’s ability to pay the rent on time and in full. The “Current Employment” section presents an area where the Prospective Tenant can report his or her earning power. First, he or she should Name the “Company” where he or she works as well as report on the “Occupation/Title” he or she holds there using the first two spaces under the “Current Employment” heading.

Below this information, the Applicant should document “How Long” he or she has been employed with the reported Company along with his or her “Gross Income” utilizing the next two spaces to present this information. Note: The dollar amount entered onto the “Gross Income” line should be taken from the Applicant’s “Prior Year Tax Filing.” Next, the Prospective Tenant should supply the “Street Address,” “City,” and “State” for the Company that employs him or her on the next three blank spaces.  Finally, the Full Name of the Applicant’s “Supervisor” at work should be produced on the last blank space in this section.  After supplying the specifics regarding his or her Current Employment, the Prospective Tenant should also furnish a report of the same items concerning the last place he or she worked under the heading “Previous Employment.” A space has been supplied for the Applicant to supply details concerning the “Company” Name, “Occupation/Title,” “How Long” he or she worked there, the total Yearly “Gross Income” he or she earned, the Company’s “Street Address,” “City,” “State,” and “Supervisor” of his or her previous job.

6 – Previous Residences Where The Applicant Lived Must Be Presented

Now the Prospective Tenant will need to discuss his or her living arrangements. The first section where this information will be required is “Current Residence.” This section will be structured in the same manner as the opening area of this application with a few additions to make the presented information relevant to the Prospective Tenant. The first two items will require the Applicant to define the “Type (Apt., Home, Condo”)” dwelling he or she currently resides in along with how many “Square Feet (SF)” it is. The next line will call for a definition as to how many “Bedrooms” his or her current Residence has on the third blank space and the Monthly Rent Amount on the fourth blank space of this section. 

The Prospective Tenant must enter his or her Current Address by reporting its “Street Address,” “City,” “State,” and “Zip” Code across the next four spaces. Now some details regarding the lease he or she currently holds should be produced. The Prospective Tenant should enter the number of Years/Months he or she lived at his or her “Current Residence” should be entered on the space after the question “How Long At This Address?”  Next, the Prospective Tenant should define the “Current Lease Expiration Date” and to describe why he or she has a “Desire For Moving” out of his or her Current Residence to the one being applied for. The last two blank spaces in this section have been included in this section for this purpose.

The next area, titled “Current Landlord” will have four blank spaces “Name,” “Address,” “Phone,” and “E-Mail” where the Applicant should present the Name, Location, and Contact Information for the Landlord/Property Manager where he or she currently lives. The area under the heading “Previous Residence” will need some information regarding the last place the Prospective Tenant lived before he or she moved into the residence where he or she currently resides. There will be a space supplied so the Prospective Tenant can report the “Type (Apt., Home, Condo),” “Square Feet (SF)” of this residence, the number of “Bedrooms,” how much the monthly “Rent Amount” was, where it was located (“Street Address,” “City,” State,” and “Zip”), and that lease’s “Start Date” and “End Date.”

The Prospective Tenant’s “Previous Landlord” will have to be reported on as well. In the next section, he or she should supply this entity’s Full “Name,” “Address,” “Phone Number” and “E-Mail” Address. The next sections labeled “Previous Residence” and “Previous Landlords” has been supplied so the Prospective Tenant can record the second to last place where he or she lived (if applicable). This will require the same relative details regarding the Property, the Lease, and the Landlord as the previous sections. In addition to the Residences and Landlords the Prospective Tenant must supply, he or she will need to supply some “Personal References” as well. This section will require three individuals who the Landlord/Property Manager may contact regarding the Applicant. Each reference should have his or her “Full Name,” “Relationship” to the Tenant, “E-Mail” Address, and Telephone “Number” presented on the blank lines bearing these labels. Enough room has been provided here so that each Personal Reference will have his or her own series of spaces for this information to be furnished on.

7 – The Financial Information Section Requires The Applicant’s Information

The “Financial Information” section will supply a place where the Prospective Tenant can produce his or her Banking and Credit Card Information. Enough room for the Applicant to record the Name of the Name of the Financial Institution where he or she banks on the blank line labeled “Bank,” his or her “Account #” there, the “Routing #” associated with that Account, the “Branch Location” where that bank may be found, and two checkboxes (“Checking” and “Savings” so the Applicant may indicate the “Type” of Account being reported on.

This area will also supply enough space for the Applicant to report on three Credit Cards he or she has. Here, the Prospective Tenant should supply the name of the Financial Institution that issues the Card on the line labeled “Credit Card,” the “Card #,” and Card “Limit” on the first three labeled areas. Once this information has been supplied the Applicant should indicate what type of Credit Card is being reported on by marking the checkbox labeled “Visa,” “MasterCard,” “Discover,” “Amex,” or “Diner’s Club” in this area.

8 – Space For Additional Information May Be Used By The Applicant

In many cases, the Applicant or Prospective Tenant may wish to supply some additional information that is not required on this application (For instance, a previous Landlord listed may no longer be accessible due to medical concerns or death). Such information may be supplied to the blank lines included under the words “Additional Details (If Any).”

9 – This Application Is Not Valid Unless The Applicant Provides A Dated Signature

The final required items from the Applicant will be a Signature and Signature Date. The Signature area of this form will be supplied beneath the testimonial paragraph beginning with the statement “I Hereby Certify That I Am At Least 18 Years Of Age.” The Prospective Tenant must read this Testimonial then furnish his or her Signature on the line labeled “Applicant’s Signature” along with the Calendar Date when he or she signed his or her Name on the “Date” line.


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