Your rental application is the first step to safeguarding your community. Alongside background screening, it’s one of the few things that helps you evaluate if an applicant should live amongst your other residents. While it certainly can’t tell you a particular resident-to-be’s future, as long as you cover 5 key areas in your rental application, you can at least get a hint as to what type of renter they might become.
It’s crucial that your rental application cover all the aspects that involve why your applicant is moving. Knowing in-depth moving information is not only practical, but also clues you into their relationship with their previous residence or landlord. Questions targeting why they’re moving, the date they need to move in, and how many people that will be moving with them, should be on your application.
- Learn their Previous History but be Wary of Criminal History
Another practical aspect in your rental application should be questions targeting your applicant’s previous history. This could be questions about prior evictions or their current rental policy. While you might instantly think to ask about an applicant’s criminal history as well, you should start preparing your rental application for when (or if) the ban-the-box legislation gains movement within tenant screening.
Currently, the ban-the-box movement aims to prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history before extending a formal job offer. While this movement affects employment screening, it’s getting momentum in the housing world. In preparation, avoid direct questions about their criminal past on your application. Depend on your background screening report to uncover any major criminal charges or red flags.
- Do They Have Their Financial Situation Sorted?
When it comes to employment verification, you should already have questions that address these standard rental application topics. However, if you don’t, make sure your application addresses if they’re prepared to pay first and last month’s rent, and if they can afford the deposit (if required). It should also have a space where your applicant can record their income information.
- Additional Factors For Your Rental Application
You can add additional questions based on concerns you have, but standard extra questions involve if they have any pets, how many vehicles they have, and if they own a water bed. If you add any questions make sure they all relate to the rental property and are justifiable, so as to not seem discriminatory.
- Your Applicant’s References
How much you use personal references during the application process is up to you; however you should make sure to include a space for applicant’s employment and rental references. By performing verbal verifications of each of these references, you can determine if your applicant was truthful and if they have/had a good relationship with their company or previous landlord. If you hear anything that raises red flags, use your applicant’s background report to investigate further and justify your final decision.
Performing tenant screening alongside your rental application is critical when deciding if an applicant is the right fit for your community. It not only helps you make the best possible decision, but it reassures your nondiscriminatory rental practices. With tenant screening beside your rental application (enhanced by these 5 key question areas), you’ll have quality residents in no time.
What type of application questions do you think help you make the best rental decision? Do you have any unique questions you ask on your application? Tell us about it in the comment section below!