Tips for Landlords: How to Develop Your Rental Application

Your rental application represents the initial step in the process of screening applicants for your rental property. It allows you, as the landlord, to gather essential information that’s valuable in the following three ways:

  • Provides information about the applicant

  • Gives you the information you need (name, Social Security number, and driver’s license number) to identify the applicant and dig deeper for information, such as credit and criminal history

  • Helps you assess the applicant’s honesty by giving you applicant-supplied information that you can check against facts you dig up later

Your rental application is a fill-in-the-blanks form that may include some or all of the following information:

  • Complete legal name

  • Social Security number (SSN) or individual tax identification number (ITIN)

  • Contact information (phone numbers and an email address)

  • Current and previous addresses

  • Date of birth

  • Banking information

  • Personal references

  • Vehicles

  • Pets (if any)

  • Other occupants of the apartment (of any age)

  • Driver’s license number

  • Recent employment history (unless your state prohibits discrimination based on source of income)

  • Current income

  • Names and contact information of previous landlords

  • Past evictions

  • Bankruptcies

  • Any information that may be discovered in a criminal history search, if you decide to do a search

Consider starting with a sample Rental Application and then tweak it, if necessary, to meet your needs.

[Credit: Form courtesy of IREM]
Credit: Form courtesy of IREM

If you decide to outsource applicant screening to a third-party service, check with the service to determine the information it needs in order to perform background and credit checks, and then include spaces for that information on your rental application.

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