Rental Application Forms
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Quick Tips: Tenant Screening & Application Forms
There is plenty to say about showing vacant rental properties, collecting rental applications and tenant screening (and we do, in our Advertising and Tenant Screening articles), but here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Never describe the “ideal” tenant in rental ads, it’s too easy to break fair housing laws.
- Always collect fully-completed and signed rental applications from each prospective tenant, and read them carefully.
- Verify applicants’ identities, credit history, criminal history, employment, income and rental history (we offer all of the above, but even if you don’t use us, still do these things).
- Make sure the rent is no more than a third of the applicants’ incomes as a general rule.
- Consider insuring that the tenants pay you the rent – even perfect-looking tenants sometimes default, and it gets expensive fast when you’re paying a mortgage for six months with no incoming rent.
Lastly, follow your gut. If something about an applicant bothers you, even if you can’t put your finger on it, lease to someone else. There are plenty of good tenants out there, don’t risk renting to a rotten apple who may default on the rent, ruin the rental property, sue you or call the local newspaper to tell them how their big bad landlord abused them.