The Alaska rental application form is a document that is used by landlords to collect the personal information of prospective tenants. The information collected is used to screen the tenant to learn more about their rental history, credit, and other factors that help determine eligibility.
- Application Fee – Alaskan landlords may impose any application fee they wish, which may be non refundable as long as the applicant is notified.
- Discrimination Laws – Alaska does not have specific state protections against discrimination, but federal law makes it illegal to ask about race, color, religion, nationality, gender, familial status, disabilities, or familial status (such as children who will live in the property), with some exceptions.
- Consent for Credit Check – the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires a prospective tenant to give written consent to check their credit history during the screening process.
Alaska Rental Application Laws
The following laws apply to the application and tenant screening process in Alaska.
Collecting an Application Fee in Alaska
Alaska does not impose limits on how much can be charged for a rental application. However, it must be designated as refundable or nonrefundable in order to be enforced.
Illegal Housing Discrimination in Alaska
Federal laws have been established to protect renters from unfair discrimination during the application process.
Fair Housing Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against the following protected classes:
- National Origin (Nationality)
- Familial Status (having or not having children)
- Disability (Physical or Mental)
As a result, asking about any of these items on a rental application form (and/or using them to base an application decision on) is not allowed.
Exemptions to Fair Housing Laws
National exemptions from Fair Housing Laws apply in some cases. In Alaska, this includes:
- Familial Status – it is acceptable to ask about and base an application decision on if minors will occupy the rented premises in the case of a Housing for Older Persons exemption
- Religious Organizations – religion can be used as a basis for giving preference to certain applicants for property that is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization. The property may not be rented commercially, and other protected classifications may not be the basis for making a decision as a result of this exemption. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without public access or commercial intent may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club, as long as membership is not discriminatory itself. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Alaska does not recognize the Mrs. Murphy Exemption.
Consent for Credit Checks
Before a landlord can run a credit check based on the prospective tenant’s information on the submitted rental application, the Federal Credit Reporting Act requires that written consent must be given by the applicant. This written consent can be given via a statement of such and signature on the rental application form itself, or via a separate consent form (example template).
Alaska Security Deposit Law
If an applicant is approved, the following laws apply to the collection of security deposits in Alaska:
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount: 2 months’ rent
- Receipt Requirements: there is no requirement to provide a written receipt for a security deposit
- Financial Holdings: security deposit funds are required to be placed in a separate bank account in the state and held individually from other deposits.
Sending Rental Application Forms
Landlords can send rental application forms to tenants in one of two ways:
- Manually – using the PDF and Word templates available for free on our website (see the top right of this webpage), landlords can send a rental application form to tenants via a physical copy or email.
- With Software – most popular property management software services include an online rental application form that can automate the collection and screening process for landlords.
For reviews of popular property management software, click here.
Processing a Rental Application
The next step in the tenant screening process is to use the information on the rental application form to conduct a background check:
- Credit Check – subject to the tenant’s written consent, a credit check will either provide a simpler “pass/fail” report, or a full credit report including the tenant’s credit score and information about their income, employment, past addresses, credit inquiries and more.
- Eviction Check – an eviction check aims to show the tenant’s history of eviction filings or judgments against them at any point in the last 7 years.
- Criminal History Check – a criminal history check aims to show any records involving the tenant in state court criminal records or in databases such as the national sex offender public registry.
Alaska Eviction Record Search
If you are looking to conduct an eviction record search, you may choose to use a service that aggregates all the information for you, or you may discover this information yourself through accessing public records with the state of Alaska.
To conduct your own search:
- Go to the Alaska CourtView website.
- Enter the name of the prospective tenant.
- Choose the “Eviction” case type from the menu
- Conduct a search using the tenant’s name and date of birth listed on their application.
Responding to Rental Applications
If an applicant meets all of your tenant screening criteria, then there’s nothing you need to do beyond notifying them and moving forward with the normal leasing process.
However, if you acquire a consumer report for an applicant (i.e. credit, eviction or criminal history) and you make an “adverse action” against them (EVEN IF the report’s information wasn’t the primary reason for doing so), you are required to provide the tenant with a notice letter that includes certain details, known as an “adverse action notice”.
An adverse action is defined as either rejecting the applicant or instituting additional/higher requirements than you have for another applicant (i.e. requiring a co-signer, larger security deposit, higher rent or an additional deposit).
In these cases, an adverse action notice is required to be sent to the applicant, and must include the following:
- The agency’s name, address and phone number that supplied the report.
- A statement explaining that the CRA didn’t make the decision for the adverse action themselves, and as a result, that they can’t explain why the decision was made.
- A statement explaining the applicant’s right to dispute such information and their right to a copy of the report in question within 60 days.
To learn more about requirements surrounding adverse action notices, see this article from the Federal Trade Commission. To get an idea of what an adverse action notice might look like, see this example letter.
Additionally, to protect against accusations of illegal discrimination, it is always recommended to include the exact reason why the application was not approved in the rejection letter.