8 Critical Items You Need on a Rental Application Form

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For many landlords the process of finding a new tenant is the most problematic aspect of being a landlord. One facet of the process that can be especially unsettling is the rental application process. The rental application process is an area where many do it yourself landlords fall short. Failing in this area can cause a great deal of headaches for the landlord. Many of the failures in this process can be greatly diminished or eliminated altogether with the proper rental application form. A sufficient rental application form can be a source of information that can equip the landlord to make the right decision in regards to new tenants. But what are the critical items that need to be on this rental application form? The form must be able to request in depth personal information for identification and verification; and the two go hand in hand.

    Here is a list with explanation that should be required on any rental application form.

  • A copy of a current states driver’s license; this is a dual purpose requirement for identification and also for the credit report.

  • Social Security number will also be required for credit reporting purposes. It also serves as one more verifiable form of identification.

  • Contact information; this should go without saying but should be required.

  • A list of current and recent addresses. This will give the landlord an idea of the stability of the prospective renter.

  • Contact information for the current landlord. Follow up on this information. The most knowledgeable person in regards to the reliability of a renter is their current landlord. He knows what the new landlord needs to know.

  • Employer contact information; This also should be followed up on to ensure that the tenant is employed and therefore able to pay rent.

  • Pay Check stubs. This is also critical. Look at the amount per pay cycle and make sure the rent is not too high of a percentage of the renter’s total income. One third is a good rule of thumb. Also be mindful of the year to date amount to verify that this income level is consistent.

  • Recent Bank statements.This would provide the landlord with an indisputable snapshot of the renter’s financial health. This often required and would provide a clearer picture of the renter’s ability to pay rent. This suggestion take the issue a little farther than the aforementioned.

This information is sufficiently comprehensive and will allow the landlord to obtain tenant credit reports and credit scored and this should be done. All verifiable information should be verified. Follow up is imperative. As a side note, there should be an application fee. The credit check and the credit score will  incur cost. It is up to the individual landlord to charge a fee or not, but a thorough credit check and score along with proper follow up can be a time consuming process. These questions will save time and headache in the future. Don’t cut corners on the rental application.

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