The Kansas rental application form is a document that prospective tenants complete to provide personal information relating to them as a tenant. The landlord uses the information on the application to determine whether they are a viable tenant or not from eviction history, rental history, and financial information.
Kansas Laws on Rental Application Fees
In Kansas, there is no limit or maximum rental application fee a landlord can charge a prospective tenant. It’s advised to not charge more than the average out-of-pocket expense, but ultimately the determination of the fee is at the sole discretion of the landlord.
Additionally, if an applicant is approved, Kansas landlords may charge a security deposit. The landlord may only charge up to one month’s rent for an unfurnished unit or one and one-half month’s rent for a furnished unit set by Kansas state law. There are no receipt and no financial holding requirements.
What Kansas 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 illegal.
There are no additional state protected classes in Kansas; however, exemptions from Fair Housing laws do exist. In Kansas, the state mirrors federal exemptions, which allows for the following exemptions:
- Familial Status – it is acceptable to ask about and base an application decision on if children will occupy the rented premises in any two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Age – landlords may ask for an applicant’s age in the case of age-restricted communities such as senior housing where children would not be welcomed. This federal exemption, known as the Housing for Older Persons Exemption. This can apply to 55+ and 62+ communities that meet the requirements based on the community population.
- Owner Occupied Properties– dwellings with four units or less where one unit is occupied by the owner are exempt from Fair Housing Laws (except in advertising practices), 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 – a religious group may give preference to certain applicants of their choosing for property that is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by the group and used non-commercially. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without commercial intent may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club, as long as there is no discrimination in accepting membership. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
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, or via a separate consent form (example template).
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.
Kansas Eviction Record Search
Evictions in Kansas are public record, which means they can be accessed by anyone. You can choose to pay for a program that will retrieve the court records for you, or you may access them yourself from the Kansas Courts system.
To access the eviction records:
- Access the Kansas Courts Online Search.
- Enter the potential tenant’s name to view any existing records.
- Select the case number to view any available information on the case.
- The cost is $1.50 per search and $1.50 per case.
- Note that if records are not available for the county you are searching, please view the Kansas District Court Public Access Portal.
Adverse Action Notices
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 you 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 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 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.