The Indiana rental application form is a legal document used to help screen rental applicants based on their rental and financial information and history so that landlords can choose who they want to rent their property to.
- Application Fee – in Indiana, there is no limit to the application fees being charged.
- Discrimination Laws – Indiana Fair Housing Law provides specific state protections against discrimination based on ancestry in addition to federal law which protects race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disabilities, and familial status, with some exceptions.
- Consent for Credit Check – according to the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a landlord must get written consent to complete a credit check when processing a rental application in Indiana.
Indiana Rental Application Laws
The following laws apply to the screening process for leasing in the state of Indiana.
Collecting an Application Fee in Indiana
Indiana does not impose limits on how much of an application fee can be charged to applicants, but it is recommended that the cost is relative to the expenses incurred as a result of the screening.
Illegal Housing Discrimination in Indiana
Both federal and state laws are in effect in Indiana to protect potential renters from illegal 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.
Indiana Fair Housing Laws
Indiana state laws add additional protections for ancestry to the protections afforded to Indiana applicants.
This criteria, in addition to federal FHA laws, may not be asked about in writing or in person, and may not be used in the consideration of a rental application.
Exemptions to Fair Housing Laws
In Indiana, the following exemptions are allowed:
- 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:
- Two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Housing for Older Persons Exemption – landlords may ask for an Indiana applicant’s age in the case of age-restricted communities such as senior housing. This federal exemption is known as the “Housing for Older Persons” exemption, which can apply to communities that meet the guidelines to be considered senior housing.
- 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. However, they may not discriminate in their marketing of the property or who they allow to apply.
- Religious Organizations – religion can be considered when screening applicants for property that is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization that does not rent commercially. However, other protected classes 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 are exempt from adhering to FHA guidelines for their property, except in the case of race. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence when considering applicants. (Civil Rights Act of 1866)
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).
Indiana Security Deposit Law
If an applicant is approved, the following laws apply to the collection of security deposits in Indiana:
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount: There’s no maximum security deposit that may be charged for an Indiana rental.
- Receipt Requirements: Landlords are not required to provide a written receipt of the information relating to the handling of the security deposit.
- Financial Holdings: There is no requirement for holding the security deposit collected from a potential tenant.
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.
Indiana Eviction Record Search
Checking for evictions is a core part of the tenant screening process. When it comes to accessing this information, you have the option to either use a third-party service that will collect eviction records, or you may access the public record yourself.
To access Indiana eviction records:
- Go to the Indiana Courts Public Portal, and select the Search Cases option.
- Select the middle tab at the top of the page to search by name, and enter the potential tenant’s information.
- Select the case number to view any available information on the case. Documents that are available for viewing will be linked in .pdf format.
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.