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What Landlords Should Know About Effective Rental Applications

Having a solid rental application is one powerful way to protect yourself as a landlord. It will help you identify good tenants and low-quality tenants by asking questions and doing a background check.

If you haven’t updated your rental application for a long time now, make sure that you do. Here are some of the things that an up-to-date rental application should ask:

1. Income and Credit Information

Never proceed to the lease without checking an applicant’s income and credit information first in detail. An actual credit score can give you an idea if a tenant is able to pay rent or not. You need tenants who will take their obligation seriously.

2. Presence of Pets

If you’re concerned about pets when renting out your home, your rental application should ask whether your tenant has one. You may ask about the size and breed of a pet as these aspects will give you an idea about the possibility of property damage. Remember, however, not to refuse access to service dogs because they are protected by the ADA.

Read: Assistance Animals and Your Obligations as a Landlord

3. Reason for Moving

It may seem like you shouldn’t be asking this question, but you should. Some people move out from a previous rental because they’re in the middle of an eviction. There are also situations where applicants had a poor relationship with a previous landlord. Watch out for these red flags.

4. Supplemental Documentation

Many rental application forms, to this day, do not require supporting documentation. Reference letters, proof of income, and valid IDs are important because they help you verify what was written in the application.

5. References

If a tenant cannot provide references that can speak for them, you may not continue with this tenant. References, whether personal, professional or a previous landlord, will help you get an idea of what your tenant is like. Will the tenant be able to take care of your property? What’s the tenant’s lifestyle like?

6. Willingness to Abide by a No-Smoking Clause

Do you have a no-smoking policy in your rental? It’s common in many landlords to restrict smoking in the unit. It’s essential that you ask in the application if your tenant applicant is willing to follow your no-smoking clause.

Final Thoughts

These are some questions to ask that will help you determine if a tenant applicant can meet your standards. For your protection, be careful not to ask questions that are discriminatory. Also, do not offer to tour the applicant around your property unless you’ve verified his or her identity.

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