View a sample Louisiana rental application form below and read further to learn more about what information should be included on rental applications in Louisiana, what information a landlord CAN’T ask for, and what Louisiana-specific regulations apply to the application process.
Disclaimer: the templates provided on this website are for reference & general informational purposes only. You should always speak with an attorney for all legal matters.
Quick Facts for Louisiana
Purpose of a Rental Application
Rental applications demonstrate good work ethic and give both landlords and tenants confidence in their final decisions. They also serve as helpful documentation and proof of the screening process, which can help protect landlords in the event of a lawsuit. Tenants should be wary of landlords who don’t use rental applications; you want to know all the right steps are being taken when filling a vacancy.
Rental Application Fees
There is no maximum for what a landlord can charge a tenant for a rental application.
Who Needs to Fill One Out
Prospects over 18 years old who will be living in the property for any length of time should fill out a rental application and anyone who isn’t living in the home but who is co-signing the lease should fill out a rental application. Tenants who move in at a later date should also fill one out.
Usually 48-72 hours; you should keep rental application records until the tenant is out of time for making a legal claim, which is 4 years for written lease agreements, and 2 years for oral agreements. After approving a tenant, remember to send them a copy of the lease within 15 days of signing.
Read further to learn more about rental applications in Louisiana such as what fields should be included, what information a landlord can’t ask for, and what other Louisiana-specific rental regulations apply to the rental application process.
What is a Rental Application?
A rental application is a form that allows landlords to screen potential tenants to determine if they are a good fit for a property by asking for a variety of personal information. Before a new tenant signs a contract with a landlord for a rental property, they are going to need to fill out a rental application so that the landlord can get a better idea of the person who wants to live in the unit that they own. This type of a rental application will permit the landlord to check into the information that the potential tenant has provided, which means that a credit check or a background check may be possible.
This is a relatively simple document to fill out, and it will not require extensive information form the potential tenant to fill out. It is designed to make reviewing the applicants for a specific unit easier to manage, and with the section that should be included in the document, the landlord will have an easier time finding a tenant that is right for their property.
When it’s time to find new renters, it’s a good practice to exercise all of the required due diligence so that the renters that are selected will have a trouble-free tenancy. To ensure this, many landlords utilize detailed tenant-screening processes that can help contribute to this kind of favorable relationship with lessees.
Once each of the prospective tenants is screened, it should be much easier for a lessor to determine who are the optimal tenants. These documents are designed to not only provide a property owner with all of the critical information that can help facilitate tenancy decisions, but they are useful for showing a tenant that the landlord takes excellent care in making tenancy determinations. The information that’s requested by a Louisiana rental application is also relatively easy to come by, and most tenants will have no problem providing it. Details like credit history, a history of past tenancies, and employment status all paint a nice picture for a property owner.
Louisiana Rental Application Form Elements
The sections that should appear in an all-encompassing rental application are described below. Applicants should be clearly instructed to complete all fields in the rental application. Blank spaces or incomplete information should be considered for investigation.
With a document that can be so integral to the tenant-selection process, it’s critical that the document has all of the needed sections. Additionally, these should also be easy to file and have a relatively standard format so that information is easily gleaned. Here are a few sections that can be utilized to get the most comprehensive picture about a prospective tenant:
The Description of the Rental Unit
To start this document, a landlord will first want to describe the rental unit so that the tenant can understand for which unit he or she is applying. In general, it’s a good practice to leave this section intentionally blank so that individualized descriptions of various units can be printed in this area at a later date.
If there are varying units with varying numbers of bedrooms, then this information can be added to the application later. Also, for those properties that have varying unit types like townhouses, lofts, and studio apartments, this information can be included here as well.
In addition to this property information, the actual physical address will need to be recorded in this section. As a rule, details like the unit number, building number, side streets, and county of the property will need to be included for completeness. If there is any other identifying information about the specific unit that’s in question, it should also be included in this section for the edification of the applicant.
This section can then be closed out with the potential lease start date and the amount of fair market rent that is being asked for in the particular rental property.
Since this is an application that’s going to go fairly deep into detail about the applicant, the next section should seek some more generalized information from the prospective renter. To start, the full name, which can include the middle initial or full middle name should be requested in this section. Next, a blank space should be provided for the current number of the applicant so that he or she may be easily reached if there is a need for supplemental information. This is also a good section to record any additional ways to reach the applicant should an alternative be needed. For example, email addresses or supplemental numbers are often good ways to reach potential lessees.
Next, the date of birth information and the social security number of the applicant will need to be requested. Accompanying this, a request for permission to perform a background check on the applicant should be included. Typically, this can be presented in the form of a simple checkbox. A background check in Louisiana can easily provide details on whether a tenant has a criminal background, credit report, and if there is a history of eviction. Finally, in Louisiana, it’s a good practice to request a copy of photo ID as well.
Finally, a section asking if there are to be cotenants in the unit should be included. Typically, this refers to family members or children that will be living on the property.
In addition to the information that will be garnered by the background check, a section for rental history can be utilized to get details from the prospective tenant. As might be expected, tenants that have more problematic tenant histories tend to be more risky renters. For this section, details about the last three rental locations can be provided so that a detailed picture can be created about the type of renter the applicant is.
For completeness, the address of each of the three rental locations can be attained as well as details on how to reach the landlord or management company at that address. The duration of the tenancy is also a good bit of information to request. If the landlord doesn’t have permission to contact his or her former tenant, then this must be specified in this section.
In some situations, prospective renters may have dwelled in a particular location for several years. When this is the case, seeking out the last three tenancies may be difficult. If this is the case, the landlord may waive the need to provide this information and may simply seek details about the most recent tenancy. If there is a lack of tenancy history due to property ownership, then a guarantor may be used as a backup. Guarantors are individuals that effectively will vouch for a new tenant. Should a situation occur where a tenant doesn’t pay his or her rent properly, the guarantor can pay the rent that’s in arrears.
As might be expected, the economic history of a potential tenant is going to be important when creating one of these rental applications. This is a good means of determining the level of responsibility of a tenant and whether the tenant will be easily able to pay rent in a timely manner. Some of the most pertinent information for this part of the application will include the tenant’s current income as well as the amount of money available in his or her savings. Before getting to that information, the applicant’s current employment status should also be queried.
For the most comprehensive gathering of this information, it’s a good idea to ask about the last five years’ worth of employment. This will include the companies in which the tenant has been employed as well as any job titles that the applicant may have held at those companies. Additionally, the length of time of employment for each position listed can be provided by the applicant.
Next, the names of supervisors and their phone numbers will need to be provided so that the landlord can reach out to these individuals. The amount of income for the current position is also a piece of information that can be used to determine how viable the rental is for an applicant. If there are supplementary sources of income, such as dividends, then the potential tenant should list them in the provided space.
In the state of Louisiana, it’s common for applicants to take on roommates when they want an easier time paying for rent and utilities. If this is the case, there is usually a primary applicant that needs to be first and foremost on the rental application. That being said, this means that this applicant will have to have the required income levels to support the rent of the property. In cases where they don’t quite meet the income requirements, a roommate may be used to ensure that the income levels in the unit are sufficient.
If this is the case, similar information that was asked of the primary tenant will be requested of the cotenant that is also being included in the document. Additionally, some landlords may still require extensive information about any potential roommates, even if their income isn’t being used to verify that rent can be covered in the unit. Supplementary information can also be requested so that the landlord has more than one means in which to reach out to those dwelling in the property.
In those properties that allow pets, it’s absolutely critical that the information for each pet that’s going to be dwelling on the premises is collected. It’s also important to have an accounting of any pets that will be added to a lease after a tenant has already moved in. In this section of the document, the rules of the property as they pertain to pets will need to be clearly stated. While this info will also be included in the fixed-term lease should the applicant be accepted, providing this information in the early stages can be useful.
For example, if the property only allows cats or only certain breeds of dogs, it needs to be explicitly stated in this part of the application. Also, since some properties only allow a certain amount of pets in a unit, it’s important to reveal any rules of this type early on in the application process. Does the property charge a “pet fee?” These fees work like a pet security deposit; the fee can be tapped into if there has been pet-related damage done to the unit. If this is the practice of the property, a section stating this as well as the cost of the pet fee should be in this part of the document.
Read our guide on pet policies and our blog post about service animal documentation for more information.
Personal or References
Sometimes, landlords like to compile personal or landlord references because this helps paint a picture of the potential renter. These serve as excellent character witnesses, and in most cases, these are limited to coworkers, friends, and of course, former landlords. Usually, people known for years are favored in this section, which is information that should be relayed to the applicant. Also, family members are typically not permitted. Most applications request three of these references, and some references, like former landlords, are weightier than others. The numbers of these individuals as well as other means to reach them, like email addresses, should be requested in this section.
Since this application is designed to tell a story about the applicant so that the landlord can make a tenancy decision, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a section should be dedicated to the personal history of the potential renter. In this section, information about past bankruptcies or previous evictions, whether they are constructive or not, will need to be provided. Having these events in the past shouldn’t completely preclude a tenancy in every situation, especially when there is an explanation by the tenant. For this reason, more than enough space for details will need to be provided so that the landlord will be able to make an educated decision. This is also a good place to ask for any supplementary information that can help the landlord make a tenancy decision.
To help supplement the personal information section, another large section with ample room should be provided in the rental application. This space can be used by the applicant to provide a personal statement that can help a decision be made more quickly. Some potential information could outline the presence of certain extenuating factors like mobility issues for the applicant or whether he or she has a service or even emotional support animal. This is also a good place for the applicant to state any personal reservations that they may have about the property.
While these are designed as a means of garnering information about an applicant, they do also serve as legal documents. For this reason, the applicant should both sign and print their name in its entirety. If there are additional tenants that will be signing on as roommates, then they should also complete this section. These signatures will verify that the information presented within this document is factual, and to close the document, the applicant(s) should also provide the date that they signed the application.
Applicable Law in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, there are laws that landlords must follow in order to find a tenant without being discriminatory. They can consider credit scores, income, criminal history, and eviction history in the application. There can never be an exception to the rules that have been set for accepting applicants because this can be considered discrimination as well against the other applicants. Once the landlord has all of the information on the application, they will need the consent of the tenant to do a background check.
Screening laws that the tenant will need to be aware of includes:
- Application fees that are charged are not refundable, even if they are not accepted as a tenant.
- In this state, there is no limit on the security deposit that a landlord can charge.
- There is also not a state limit on the application fee that a landlord can charge an applicant.
Fair Housing Laws in Louisiana
When you apply to live in a specific unit, there are rules to make sure that you can have an equal opportunity to live in the location in Louisiana. This means that an applicant cannot be discriminated against based on their race, their gender, or their religion. In the year 1988, disabilities and familial status were added to this law to make sure that applicants are not discriminated against. Since this law was amended to make this type of discrimination illegal, the Louisiana Housing Corporation has fortified their focus on fair housing in the state. This is to make sure that the type of housing that is available to members of the state does not affect the type of education and outreach programs that will be available in the community. This will allow citizens to live in a neighborhood that is affordable and safe.
Learn more about topics that are off-limits with tenants here.