The Arizona rental application form is a document that is used by landlords to collect information from prospective tenants, which is used to determine if they are a viable tenant based on factors like eviction history, income, credit score, and other non-discriminatory factors.
- Application Fee – in Arizona, there is no limit to the application fees that can be charged. They must be identified as nonrefundable in order to be treated as such.
- Discrimination Laws – Arizona does not have specific state protections against discrimination. However, it recognizes federal Fair Housing Act laws that make it illegal to ask about race, color, religion, nationality, gender, disabilities, or familial status (such as children who will live in the property), with some exceptions.
- Consent for Credit Check – to complete a credit check, the applicant must provide written consent according to the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to the landlord before the check may be completed.
Arizona Rental Application Laws
The following laws apply to the application and tenant screening process in the state of Arizona.
Collecting an Application Fee in Arizona
While some states specify a maximum application fee, Arizona does not have any limitations on who can charge the application fee, or how much this fee can be. If the fee is nonrefunable, this must be noted on the application.
Illegal Housing Discrimination in Arizona
Federal laws are in effect to protect potential renters from unfair discrimination during the Arizona 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.
Arizona Fair Housing Laws
In addition to federal FHA laws, Arizona state laws add additional protections for citizen status. Landlords are not allowed to inquire about immigration or citizenship status as part of their screening process.
Exemptions to Fair Housing Laws
Arizona provides the following exemptions to the federal FHA laws:
- Familial Status – it is acceptable to ask about and base an application decision on if children will occupy the rented premises in any of the below cases:
- Housing for Older Persons Exemption – landlords may ask for an applicant’s age in the case of age-restricted communities such as senior housing. This federal exemption, known as the “Housing for Older Persons” exemption, can apply to 55+ or even 62+ communities that meet the requirements.
- “Mrs Murphy Exemption” – dwellings with four units or less where one unit is occupied by the owner are exempt from Fair Housing Laws, unless a real estate agent represents the landlord. Additionally, race cannot be a deciding factor as per the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
- Religious Organizations – religion may be used as a basis for giving preference to certain applicants if the property is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization that does not rent it commercially. However, race and other protected classes may not be used to influence the decision. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without public access or commercial intent and do not discriminate in gaining membership may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence on the worthiness of the applicant in any situation, regardless of legal exemptions due to the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
FHA laws do not apply to single-family houses rented without a broker or agent (rented by owner) as long as the owner does not own more than 3 houses.
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).
Arizona Security Deposit Law
If an applicant is approved, the following laws apply to the collection of security deposits in Arizona:
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount: 1.5 months’ rent.
- Receipt Requirements: there is no requirement for landlords to provide a written receipt of the premises for a security deposit.
- Financial Holdings: there is no procedure for how security deposit funds must be held.
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.
Arizona Eviction Record Search
Evictions in Arizona are public record, which means they can be accessed by anyone. There are third-party programs and businesses that can collect this information, or it can be accessed through the state’s Judicial Court Directory which provides an on-demand record requesting system.
To access the eviction records:
- Go to Arizona Supreme Court Case Search.
- Enter the potential tenant’s name and date of birth to access the civil court documents.
- Select the appropriate civil case to review eviction records
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.