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.
- Application Fee – Kansas has no limitations on how much an application fee can cost an applicant.
- Discrimination Laws – Kansas does not have its own state FHA laws, but still falls under federal FHA laws that protect race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disabilities, and familial status, with some exceptions.
- Consent for Credit Check – the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires a potential tenant to give written consent to check their credit history during the screening process.
Kansas Rental Application Laws
The following laws apply to the application and tenant screening process in the state of Kansas.
Collecting an Application Fee in Kansas
A Kansas landlord may charge any application fee they wish to potential tenants completing applications as long as the applicant is aware of the cost of screening.
Illegal Housing Discrimination in Kansas
Federal laws are in effect in Kansas to protect potential 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
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 of the below cases:
- Two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Housing for Older Persons Exemption – 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, can apply to 55+ and 62+ communities that meet the requirements based on the community population.
- Mrs. Murphy Exemption – 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
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence on the choice of whether to rent to an applicant or not regardless of existing exemptions.
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).
Kansas Security Deposit Law
If an applicant is approved, the following laws apply to the collection of security deposits in Kansas:
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount: Kansas landlords may not charge more than 1 month’s rent for a security deposit for an unfurnished unit or 1 ½ month’s rent for a security deposit for a furnished unit. If the rental agreement allows the tenant to maintain a pet, the landlord may also request no more than an additional half-month’s rent on top of the existing deposit.
- Receipt Requirements: There is no requirement to provide a receipt for the security deposit.
- Financial Holdings: There is no requirement for the security deposit to be financially held in any particular way.
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.
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.
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.