Guide to the Rental Application Process for First-Time Landlords

Guide to the Rental Application Process for First-Time Landlords

There are over 750,000 sex offenders in the United States. One or more of them could apply to rent one of your properties. Unless you want to put other tenants in danger, you need to keep sex offenders out of your properties.

But how can you know that they're sex offenders? You need to perform a tenant screening. This is part of the rental application process.

If you're a first-time landlord, you may not know how to handle this process. If so, read on. This article will guide you through the rental application process.

What Is a Rental Application?

A rental application is a way in which a landlord finds out information about a potential tenant. The prospective tenant should be able to provide some of this information upfront. Landlords can find out the rest of the information through various tenant screening tests.

At the very least, landlords should ask for the following information:

  • Credit score
  • Current income level
  • Employment history
  • Residential history
  • Criminal background
  • Household information
  • Personal information

Also, landlords will often charge fees with their rental applications. The money from these fees will pay for any screening tests. These will allow a landlord to check or double-check a tenant's information.

Why It's Necessary

Not everyone is capable of paying rent on time each month. Also, many people are more likely to cause problems for neighbors and damage your rental property. Landlords should want to avoid renting their properties to these unreliable and dangerous tenants.

Rental applications can help you do that. Once you have all of a person's information in front of them, you can accurately find any liability issues. You can then deny or accept that person as a rental property tenant.

Creating a Rental Application Process

The first step of the rental application process is drafting a rental application document. You can ask a lawyer or property management service to help you create this document, if necessary. It should contain questions that will help you gather the info in the list above.

You then need to present this document to potential tenants and run background checks. This will help you check any information the client can't provide or double-check the information they did provide. Afterward, you can decide if a tenant is worthy.

Legal Considerations

The rental application process can be full of legal dangers. You must take certain steps to avoid them, including the following:

  • Learn about rental discrimination laws
  • Learn what you can legally charge for fees
  • Be upfront about application fees
  • Disclose information about deposits, prerequisites, etc.

Performing these steps can protect you from legal ramifications. Going against the law can cause you to face fines or jail time.

Try Our Property Management Services

The rental application process may seem straightforward. However, there are a lot of smaller details that can cause a lot of trouble, so you need to be careful.

Do you need help with your rental application process? If so, hire our services in Lynnwood, Washington. We provide full-service commercial and residential property management services.

Get more information by filling out the form on this page. We should get back to you during business hours.