When you’ve successfully marketed your Colorado Springs rental property, and prospective tenants are scheduling showings and asking about move-in dates and pet policies, you’ll have to be prepared to provide an application. This application will allow potential renters to share information that allows you to confirm their identity and screen their qualifications.
You need every individual who is 18 years of age or older to fill out and sign an application form before you begin the screening process. The application collects the relevant information and grants you permission to run credit, criminal, and background checks on the applicant.
Consistency and Fair Housing
Fair housing laws prohibit landlords from accepting or denying an applicant based on:
- National origin
- Familial status
While you probably don’t imagine you would ever discriminate against a potential tenant, some of the things you do or don’t do can be seen as discriminatory. It’s important to be consistent and to collect the same information from everyone. That’s how a rental application can help you. You also need to screen every applicant the same way. Your standards need to be the same for every tenant.
Put a set of rental criteria in writing. When you can hand every potential applicant a documented list of what’s required in order to be approved for a priority, people will remove themselves from your applicant pool if they don’t feel they’ll qualify. You’ll also protect yourself against any claims of discrimination because you’ll be able to show the standards against which every applicant is measured.
Rental Applications: What to Include
Your rental application should start with the basic identifying information. You’ll need to collect every resident’s name, age, date of birth, and social security number. Ask for income and employment information, and be sure to collect phone numbers so you can call and verify employment. Your application can require supporting income documentation like pay stubs and bank statements.
A good application will also ask for information about prior evictions and reference information for current and previous landlords. Make sure you have the applicant’s last two or three addresses so you can verify that against the credit report. Ask for the names and dates of birth for additional residents, such as minors, and ask for any pet information as well.
Make sure the application is signed and that the application fee is paid.
Screening Tenants with the Rental Application
Once you have a completed application, you can begin the screening process. Use the information that you’ve collected to verify identify and contact information. Check credit and criminal histories, and do a nationwide eviction check. Talk to employers, verify income to make sure they earn enough to cover the rent, and check for legal judgments, bankruptcies, and overdue debts to former landlords or property managers. Talk to former landlords and ask if rent was paid on time and whether they’d rent to those tenants again.
You need a comprehensive, legally compliant application when you’re looking for tenants in Colorado Springs. We can help you with the application and screening process. Contact us at Muldoon Associates.