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Rental Application Form

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Rental Application Form

Updated January 16, 2024

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: PDF

National Landlords Assoc. Version

Download: PDF

On-Site Version

Download: PDF

Simple Version

Download: PDF

Zillow Version

Download: PDF

How to Run a Background Check (6 steps)

  1. Tenant Completes the Rental Application
  2. Obtain a Credit Report
  3. Verify Employment
  4. Communicate with Former Landlords
  5. Check the Sex Offender Registry
  6. Make a Decision

1. Tenant Completes the Rental Application

Rental Application

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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.

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.

3. Verify Employment

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

4. Communicate with Former Landlords

landlord on phone with applicant's former landlordUse 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.

5. Check the Sex Offender Registry

landlord checking national sex offender registry on laptopThe 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.

6. Make a Decision

landlord reviewing rental applicationIf 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 The actual cost of a background or credit check § 6030-H
 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 Not permitted, unless the tenant fails to deliver any provide their own reports R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-18-59
 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