Tip of the Month - November, 2016

Choosing Tenants-Rental Applications

Source: Leases & Rental Agreements 2nd Edition     
By: Marcia Stewart-Attorneys Ralph Warner, Janet Portman

Each prospective tenant-everyone age 18 or older who wants to live in your rental property-should completely fill out a separate written application.  This is true whether you are renting to a married couple or to unrelated roommates, a complete stranger or the cousin of your current tenant.

Always make sure that prospective tenants complete the entire Rental Application, including Social Security number, current employer/employment, banks & emergency contacts.  You may need this information later to track down a tenant that skips town leaving unpaid rent or abandoned property.

Ask each prospective tenant to show you his/her driver’s license or other photo indentification  as a way to verify that the applicant is using his/her real name.

Be sure all potential tenants sign the Rental Application, authorizing you to verify the information and references. (You may need written authorization. You may want to prepare a separate authorization so that you do not need to copy the entire application each time proof that the tenant has authorized you to verify the information.)  Be consistent in your screening.  You risk a charge of illegal discrimination if you screen certain Categories of applicants more stringently than others-for example, only requiring credit reports from racial minorities.

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This web page was updated on 11/01/2016.