“Verifying Information on a Rental Application Form” by Mike Marko
Do you know how to verify information in a rental application form? You should if you’re a property manager.
Choosing the right tenant is one of the responsibilities of someone in your position. You also have to ensure that every potential tenant undergoes tenant screening.
Basically, you need to ask applicants to first fill up a rental application form. After that, you’ll have to check that the information he’s submitted is true.
Once you’ve verified the data’s accuracy, you can go on to use it as the basis of your decision. It can help you decide whether or not you should rent to the applicant.
That’s why knowing how to use and verify a rental application form is so important when you run a rental business. Even if you don’t know how to do these things, though, don’t worry.
In this blog post, I’ll talk about the importance of a rental application form and how to verify the data on it. In the process, you’ll get insights into how to better manage the rental property you’re overseeing.
Using the Rental Application Form as a Property Manager
Before we get to how to verify the information on a rental application form, let’s talk about what it is first.
A rental application form is a pre-written form applicants typically fill in when making a bid for a tenancy in a rental property. Generally, the manager of the aforementioned property supplies it.
The rental application form is therefore a vital tool in the process of running a rental business. Every property manager should know what it contains and why it’s necessary.
With that said, let’s start our discussion by talking about the importance of a rental application form.
Importance of the Rental Application Form
As mentioned, the first step to finding the best renters is having them fill out a rental application form.
That’s because the rental application form provides most of the data you need to conduct tenant screening.
Besides, the submission of a rental application form indicates an applicant’s genuine interest in a tenancy. When one agrees to fill out and sign the application form, it means that they’re serious about renting the property.
Make sure that each applicant fills out the rental application form fully. Otherwise, you might find it hard to evaluate them against the rest of the applicants.
Reviewing/Verifying the Rental Application Form
Usually, property managers review and verify the information on the rental application form to ensure that the impressions or assessments they make of each applicant are valid.
There are several ways to verify the data in a rental application form. You can do it yourself, for example, or even hire someone to do it for you.
Usually, however, it’s a combination of the two. At any rate, if you need advice on how to do it, you can simply consult the steps below.
Verify the Contact Information
First, you need to verify the contact information that’s presented in the application form. Doing this makes it easier to contact the prospective tenant if needed.
Also, you can use the contact information as a reference once an applicant becomes a tenant.
There are a number of ways to verify the contact information. You can look it up on search engines or just call the number.
Check the Employment History
The employment history of your tenant is one of the most important pieces of information that you need to verify.
You see, verifying the tenant’s employment history helps you determine if they’re capable of paying the rent.
furthermore, you can sometimes discover key points in the personality of the potential tenant by talking to their employers.
Make sure to ask for the contact information of the tenant’s employers in your rental application form. You need this so it’ll be easier for you to verify a tenant’s employment.
And when you’re talking to them, consider asking about the following:
- Company name,
- Company address, and
- Reference information, e.g. name, email, and phone number.
Verify the Applicant’s Income
Since you’re checking the potential tenant’s employment history, you might as well check their income too. Verifying the tenant’s income is the best way to know if they can afford rent.
To do this, make sure to require the tenant to bring at least one of the following documents:
- Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement),
- Pay stub, and
- Offer letter with salary.
Property managers commonly accept tenants with a monthly income that’s at least 3 times the rent price. This assures them that they’re not going to have problems with the potential tenant regarding the rent.
Related to this, you should also check the applicant’s credit history via his credit report. The best prospective tenants are the ones with good credit.
Again, that’s because it suggests they won’t have cash flow problems that can affect rent payment.
Check the Rental History
Your rental application form also needs to get details about the potential tenant’s rental history. To do that, make sure that your application form will ask for the following information:
- Property address,
- Landlord name and contact information,
- Dates lived in a residence, and
- Reason for leaving.
The rental history will give you an insight into the potential tenant’s behavior in their rented property.
You can check if the potential tenant has ever failed to pay rent on time, for example. Alternatively, you can learn if they’ve ever violated the policies for a rented property.
Consider requiring at least three years of rental history when requiring this, by the way. It can help you get a better sense of the applicant’s behavior as a renter.
That’s all the important information you need from your rental application form. With these, you should be capable of getting nearly all the data you need to evaluate applicants based on their application forms.
However, note that there are certain things you can do to ensure that your application form will help you choose the best tenants. Let’s go over them next.
Bonus: Tips for Making a Rental Application Form
While the things we’ve discussed are already enough for most property managers, you may want to be more thorough when doing tenant screening.
As such, here are some added tips that can help you with that:
- Don’t forget to include information such as referrals from the previous landlord and reasons for leaving the last residence in your rental application form.
- Don’t forget to ask permission from your tenant to use their information for your tenant screening process. This is even required by law in several states, as you can’t request someone’s credit report without their permission.
Final Thoughts on Reviewing the Rental Application Form
In this blog post, we discussed how to use and verify the data on a rental application form.
In every rental property business, a tenant needs to fill up a rental application form first before they can undergo the tenant screening process.
The rental application form contains information that landlords or property managers can use to assess an applicant’s worthiness for a tenancy. That’s why you need to get information about the tenant’s employment history and rental history.
Both of these can help you determine if the potential tenant is worthy of renting your property.
You can review and verify the data an applicant has submitted in several ways. For contact information, you can simply call the provided number, for instance.
You can also request sources that will let you verify the data the applicant has submitted. For instance, you can ask the applicant to provide a contact number for his employer, to verify his employment information.
Use all of the tips I gave above to ensure the data your applicants have submitted to you is true. That way, you can make the best choice when deciding which one to take on as a tenant.
That’s about it for verifying the contents of a rental application form. If you have more questions about using a rental application form, just leave them in the comments below.
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