“How To Make A Rental Application Form” written by Mike Marko
Are you looking to learn how to properly use a rental application form as a property manager?
Every rental property business should have an application form that is specifically tailored to their policies. Sure, there are a lot of templates that are available online but… are they appropriate for the policies of your rental property business?
That’s the reason why you need to make your own rental application form (or at least modify a template). Your application form should include the information that you need to help you evaluate your possible tenants.
That’s why today I’m going to help you make your own rental application form.
Contents Of A Rental Application Form
Every property manager and property management firm doing rentals needs to have a rental application form for their prospective tenants to fill out when applying for rental of a property. The application form provides vital information willingly given by the prospective tenant that will help you determine if the applicant is worthy enough for rental of your property.
We’re going to dive into detail about what information that your rental application form should ask of your applicant…
Just like any other legal documents, the first part of your rental application form should require the disclosure of almost all of the basic information you need from the applying tenant.
You should include the following in this section:
- Name of the applicant
- Identification numbers such as social security numbers or driver’s license number.
- Phone numbers (mobile and residential)
- Name of persons that are moving with them
The applicant’s date of birth, email addresses, and current address are also important to obtain in this section of the rental application form.
Rental History And Verification
The second part of your rental application form should be focused on getting information regarding the applicant’s rental history. The applying tenant’s rental history is important for every landlord and property manager to know and understand because the past history and behaviors often predict the future behaviors of the applying tenant. Knowing the applicant’s rental history will give you insights on the behavior of the prospective tenant when he or she has rented a property in the past.
It’s advisable to ask the applicant about various detailed information about their past rental experiences that you will be able to verify with past landlords or property managers. It’s also important to get at least 2 years to 5 years of their past rental histories. Some of the most important things to ask regarding past rental history are listed below:
- Get the applicant’s full names of lessees and complete address of past rentals. It’s often common to ask for a current and past mailing address and living address on the application.
- Dates of residency from past rentals. The specific date of when they move in and move out should be given.
- Ask for contact information of their previous and current landlords and property managers.
- Ask for main reasons why they decided to move out from their current or past rented property. It’s important to additionally ask them the reason why they choose your property is also important. Knowing why they left past rentals and why they would like to rent your property can be used in evaluating applicants against each other.
- Lastly, ask their expected amount of rent along with their preferred forms of payment.
Once done, proceed with the next part that is all about verifying information about the tenant.
One way to verify the applying tenant’s identity is by asking information about their employment. When you run background check reports and Credit checks it is common for past employment records to show up. Comparing that information in the reports against the information they gave you could help you to identify inconsistencies or unanswered questions of why they excluded certain employers etc. Knowing the applicant’s employment status will help you determine if the tenant has a stable job and is capable of paying their monthly rent regularly.
Consider asking for the following information in your rental application form.
- Ask for the name, contact information, and address of their current and previous employers.
- Dates of their employment. The date when they started working and the date of when their contract will end should be given.
- Information about the applying tenant’s job, their job title and responsibilities should also be included.
- Information about their employer. Ask for at least two of their past employers. You should personally contact them to verify information on the application form.
- Have them provide their supervisor’s name and contact information.
- Ask the amount of their monthly salary.
You can add items that are not included in this list, but make sure that the questions that you will include will help you determine their financial capabilities and are not in violation of anti-discriminatory rental laws in your area...
Since we already mentioned the applying tenant’s financial capacity, your rental application form should also ask about his or her credit history. To legally obtain a credit report you must get a signed authorization from the applying tenant allowing you to obtain this report and use it in determining their application for rental.
Financial information about the applying tenant’s credit history can be obtained by ordering a credit report from credit reporting agencies. Prior to formally getting the tenant to sign an authorization for a credit report, you should only ask for the following to be verified when running a complete credit report:
- Information about their savings and checking accounts, credit card, and auto loan if they have one.
- Institutions at which they have accounts, as well as a current balance
- Lastly, ask for them to sign authorizations that allow you to conduct a credit check on them.
You should also discuss any application fees and collect them at this time prior to processing their applications further.
Personal and professional references are an important way to get to know and understand how the tenant will act and behave when renting the property.
It is important to consider adding information about their references in your rental application form. The references provided by the applying tenant on your application form should include information about the applicant’s previous neighbors or landlords.
- Name of reference
- Their relationship to the applicant
- Contact information such as telephone, mobile number, or email address.
How To Verify Employment And Personal References On Rental Applications
The applicant applying for the rental property should give you contact information for all employees and personal references. However, it is best to obtain contact numbers for these references from a 3rd party source like company websites, facebook, or other social media to avoid any fraud or misrepresentations of information.
The main reasons to verify contact information is to avoid some of the following scenarios:
- Fraud or misrepresentations of employment or tenant past work history
- Avoid the applicant listing their best friend as an employer who could or might misrepresent past history and earnings.
- To avoid any identity theft and verify that the people listed on the application are the real references and not someone posing fraudulently as those references.
Using social media and company websites is both easy to do with the internet and easy to ignore due to time constraints when processing applications.
We again highly suggest spending the time and resources needed to fully verify rental applicants information prior to making a mistake and renting your property to an unqualified problem renter.
Questions That You Should Ask
A rental application is a great opportunity for you to begin to know who your possible renters are and how they will behave or act if you were to rent them a property. Your rental application form should get the vital information that you need from the applying tenant. However, most successful rental property business also adds questions about the applicant’s behavior and habits.
Adding questions about the applicant’s behavior and habits will help you filter the bad tenants from the good ones. Consider asking the following:
- Reasons why they are moving?
- Information about their vehicle. Ask for their vehicle’s name, make, model, year, color, mileage, and license plate number.
- Ask if the tenant have any pets, size of pets and numbers etc?
- Estimated length of residency?
- Eviction history and explanations?
- Ask if they have problems with their previous landlords or current landlord?
- Ask if there are applying with a co-signer or a guarantor?
- Ask if they or anyone living at the unit smokes cigarettes, drinks alcohol regularly, or does drugs?
- Will they be using apartment facilities such as laundry, pools, and common areas?
These are the most common questions that are included in a rental application form, adding various questions about the applicant’s behavior is useful especially if you have a strict policy on your property.
Final Thoughts About Rental Application Form
We just took the time to talk about what you should include in your own rental application form. Don’t just use any rental application form you find online. Your rental application form should include the basic information about the tenant, their rental history, and other verifying information such as employment verification and credit history.
Remember that the information that you’re asking in your application form should be useful in helping you select the right tenants for your property.
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