All About Rental Applications

Fair Housing Act and state laws. Asking the prospect if they are okay with filling out the form will also give you insight on them. If they seem unwilling to fill out the form, they probably aren’t the tenant for you. They are probably not ready to commit to renting. Not to mention it looks a bit suspicious that they don’t want to disclose this kind of basic information.

What Do You Ask on a Rental Application?

  • Personal & Contact Information: You should ask for the applicant’s name, phone number, email address, social security number, and date of birth. All you need is their basic information so you can get an idea of who they are.
  • Residential History: Have the prospective tenant provide you with their current and previous addresses and landlords’ contact information.
  • Employer History: Ask for the tenant’s employment status and information — you’ll probably need to contact them to verify proof of income. You can also ask for a W2 for proof as well.
  • References: This is pretty straightforward. You’ll want some credible references to contact during the screening process.
  • Miscellaneous Questions: You should have some simple yes or no questions on the application for your prospect to answer, such as:
    • Have you ever declared bankruptcy?
    • Have you ever been evicted?
    • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
    • Have you ever had an issue with a past landlord?
    • Do you have any pets?
    • Do you smoke?

After you receive the completed rental application, it’s time to run a credit and background check. Make sure to keep an eye out for red flags, some tenants, known as professional tenants, can be deceiving.

What it Should Look Like

Here's what you need to know about rental applications.

You can find lots of templates for rental applications online and customize them to your liking. Tailor your rental application so that it’s right for you and your rental property.