“A Property Manager’s Guide For Creating An Apartment Rental Application” written by Mike Marko
Unsure about the questions you need to include in your apartment rental application? Every rental business needs an application form that they can give out to prospective tenants to be filled out. All interested tenants must fill out the application form in order for the property managers to begin the screening process. The form serves as an information bank where property managers can decide whether to accept or reject a tenant. It is used to help them determine the quality of tenants that will be living in the apartments. Since the application form is crucial to both parties, it is important that it asks for the right information. Today, we’ll talk about the information to include in creating your apartment rental application.
What You Will Need For Your Apartment Rental Application
Creating your own apartment rental application form is easy. It is a matter of asking the right questions in order to gather all necessary information about the interested tenant and protect you from future grievances. The answers to these questions will help you decide whether the applicant is suitable. However, before creating your own apartment rental application, it is important to know what it is and its purpose.
What Is A Rental Application
When it comes to rental properties, regardless of the property type, a rental application form is a must. This document is given out by property managers give to potential tenants to fill out. It is used as an instrument to filter out objectionable candidates. Additionally, the rental application form serves as a legal document or contract between you and the renter that can be used by a court to determine or settle a grievance when they arise. By requiring prospective tenants to fill it out, property managers are able to gather necessary information about them and even perform background checks, if needed. As rental application forms are used to help property managers get a sense of who the potential tenants are, it typically asks for a wide range of information that includes, but is not limited to:
- Rental history
- References from landlords, employers, and others
- Identifying information (Social Security and driver’s license numbers)
- Past evictions
- Criminal convictions
In some cases, rental application forms also include a section where the candidate authorizes the landlord or property manager to conduct a verification process.
For Whom Is The Apartment Rental Application
All tenants interested in an available property can fill out a rental application form. For tenants that will have other people pay for their lease, there are instances wherein those guarantors will be required to fill the form out as well. The apartment rental application becomes more convenient when you are dealing with a good number of applicants. This will help you filter out the tenants you might not want to deal with in the long run, and save yourself time. There are two types of tenants that you will not want to waste efforts on and a rental application form will pinpoint those out:
1. Potential Tenant But Not Ready To Commit Yet
The first type of tenant that you may encounter is one who is a potential candidate but is just not ready to commit yet. These types of tenants have a budget in mind and are on the look-out for the different options that can give them. This becomes particularly difficult to deal with, especially if you have a timeframe in mind for the tenant to move in. By asking these types of candidates to fill out an application form, they will immediately turn away at that sign of commitment.
2. Just Plain Bad Tenants
The second type of potential tenants is those who know they will not pass your screening process. For those with an undesirable credit history or an unfortunate run-in with the law, the rental application form is a no-no. They already know they cannot meet the standards and will therefore not bother completing the form in the first place.
Questions To Ask In Your Apartment Rental Application Form
When you creating your own apartment rental application, it is important to include the basic elements that make a successful apartment rental application form:
1. Personal Information
The most obvious information that you will need to know is the potential tenant’s contact information. But this section should probe deeper to make sure that there is no identity theft or misinformation provided by the tenant so you should also require the following:
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security Number (for background checks)
- 2 forms of photo ID’s
That additional information is crucial in circumstances that you find yourself going through an eviction process or a court battle.
2. Current and Prior Residence Information
This section should be straightforward and include questions regarding: address, living arrangements, duration, why leaving or moving, and a contact number for each landlord. The latter is especially crucial if you are trying to gather a sense of what kind of tenants these people are. After all, who will know better about that than their previous landlords? It is recommended to skip the current landlord when doing your background checks on the potential tenants, to avoid bias.
3. Employment History
If the tenant will be making the payments (and not a guarantor), then a proof of employment or source of income should be given. This is to ensure that they can make timely rent payments and will not be a source of headaches each month. It is recommended to ask for employment history spanning several years (2 to 5 years is recommended) to gauge the stability of their employment. The contact information of current and previous employers should also be gathered to check whether the tenant is telling the truth. When screen employment makes sure you use public information like the internet to get and confirm contact numbers for their employer to avoid any fraud or misrepresentation of employment by the tenant applicant.
If you are planning to do a thorough background check on all the information given by the prospective tenant, then you must provide a section stating that you are authorized to do so. The authorization should be an additional document included with the rental application for legal purposes. Tenants must acknowledge and give their approval before you can proceed with any background check. Even with the authorization filled out from tenants, make sure to keep the applicant’s information protected and private.
5. Additional Questions You Might Want To Include
There are also other questions that you might want to add on your apartment rental application. The use of these questions is for the applying tenant to admit to any conditions that might be considered negative. Some question you might want to add are:
- Have you declared bankruptcy in the last 7 years?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
- Have you ever been evicted from tenancy?
- Have you ever intentionally refused to pay rent?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have any pets?
- How many children will be living at the residence?
Remember, the more thorough the questions, the more information you will have to work with when making a decision about the potential tenants.
Final Thoughts On The Apartment Rental Application
In today’s blog post, we discussed what a rental application is and the purpose behind it. Because it is used to filter out unsavory applicants from the good ones, it’s important that you are getting the necessary information from them. There are basic elements that make up a successful apartment rental application form and these are personal information, prior and current residence information, employment history and additional information regarding financial and criminal histories. However, before verifying all the information shared, ensure that you have a section that authorizes you to do so. Without it, you will not be able to conduct the necessary background check. For any further questions about apartment rental application, feel free to drop a message on the comment section below.
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