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.
Alaska Laws on Rental Application Fees
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.
If an applicant is approved, the maximum amount of a security deposit an Alaska landlord can collect is two months’ rent. However, if rent is more than $2,000 this limit does not apply and does not apply to pet deposits.
A landlord is not required to provide a receipt for a security deposit, but Alaska law requires security deposits to be deposited into a separate account.
What Alaska Rental Application Forms Can’t Ask About
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.
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 Background 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 (like in our free template), or via a separate consent form (such as this one).
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.
- Credit card transactions will be charged a 3% convenience fee.
Adverse Action Notices
According to the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (FCRA), if you acquire a consumer report for an applicant (i.e., credit, eviction or criminal history) and take an “adverse action” against them such as any of the following:
- Rejecting the applicant.
- Requiring a co-signer (when they didn’t include one before).
- Requiring a larger security deposit.
- Requiring higher rent.
Then landlords are legally required to provide the tenant with a notice letter that includes certain details, known as an “adverse action notice”. This is required even if the consumer report’s information wasn’t the primary reason for the action.
The notice explains and notifies the applicant that they were denied due to the information on a consumer credit report. The notice must include details about the consumer reporting agency, an explanation that they didn’t take the adverse action themselves (and can’t explain why it was made) and a statement on the applicant’s right to a copy of the report and to dispute its contents within 60 calendar days. Additionally, when rejecting an applicant, it’s recommended to specify the reason (but not legally required).
For an example, see this tenant rejection letter template