Free Online Rental Application Form
Fast, simple, digital. Optionally include tenant screening reports with one click!
Fast, simple, paperless, FREE online rental applicationEver wish you could just click a button and fire off a request for a rental application, for a potential tenant? It’s really that easy. Collecting a rental application is the first step in tenant screening. How long has the applicant lived in their current home? Where do they work? How long have they been there? Do they have pets or children or cars? This free online rental application authorizes you to contact employers, past landlords, references and anyone else you need to call to check the applicant’s credentials. Best of all, you can select to run full tenant screening reports on the applicant as well. Full credit reports, nationwide criminal background checks, and nationwide eviction history reports – available with the click of a button. Get to really know your rental applicants… without paying a dime!
Include credit reports, criminal checks and eviction reports with one clickWant to run the applicant’s credit report, along with their online rental application? How about adding a nationwide criminal history report? Or a nationwide eviction report? No problem. You can pick and choose which reports you want, and either run instant reports or request them as tenant-authorized reports. And for the tenant-authorized reports, you can even charge the screening reports to the applicant directly!
What is a rental application?
When a prospective tenant wants to rent your vacant unit, you need to collect all their personal information. That’s where rental applications come in.
A rental application is a form that prospective renters fill out, including relevant details about themselves and their finances. It includes information such as:
- The full legal name, date of birth, and Social Security number of all adult applicants
- The names and ages of all other occupants (such as minor children)
- Pet details
- Their current and former addresses, landlord names, and contact numbers
- Their income, employer name, and contact details
- Vehicle details
- Bank account balances
The rental application form is just the beginning of the tenant screening process. Beyond running their credit, criminal, and eviction history reports, you want to follow up on the information in rental application to verify income, employment history, rental history, and whether they’ve ever left damage or junk behind in their former homes.
We could go on for days about the finer points of screening rental applications and landlording in general… but we’ll spare you the lecture and just offer some quick pointers:
- Collect a separate, signed rental application from every adult who plans to move into your rental unit.
- Run tenant screening reports (including credit reports, criminal background checks, and nationwid eviction history reports) on all applicants. They typically pay for these.
- Always call the applicants’ employer to verify income, employment status, and the applicant’s reliability and character.
- Always call the applicants’ current and former landlords to verify rent payment history, damage to the property, and reliability and character.
- Never describe the kind of applicant you consider “ideal” (e.g. “This studio apartment is perfect for a single student”). It may be true, but it’s also illegal: it violates Fair Housing laws.
- Broadly speaking, don’t rent to anyone who doesn’t earn at least three times the rent amount in take-home pay.
- Inspect the applicant’s current home if you can. The way they treat it is the same way they’ll live in your rental property.
- Go with your gut. If you have any hesitations, turn down their rental application and sign a lease with someone else. Your subconscious is trying to tell you something.
- If you like a rental applicant and want to sign a lease agreement with them, but they fall a little short of your renter screening standards, ask for a lease cosigner or collect more rent or a higher security deposit up front.
Tips, Tricks, & Hacks in Screening Rental ApplicationsBefore you advertise your vacant unit for rent, brush up on a few rental advertising and tenant screening skills. Here’s a quick one-minute video about subtle red flags in tenant screening, and below are some more tips for collecting and screening applications, to help you save time and avoid rotten apples.
The Pre-Screen InterviewMany – if not most – of the people who first call or email you about your vacant property will be an obvious bad fit. So why waste your time showing the property to them? Save yourself the hassle of showing the property to people who obviously don’t qualify, by having a quick pre-screen interview. You can send the questions by email, or have a 5-minute phone call with prospects before they even complete the online rental application. Ask questions like “Why are you looking to move?” and “What’s your after-tax monthly income?” Avoid yes/no questions. Instead, ask questions that require the applicant to volunteer more information. For example, ask how many pets they have, rather than “Do you have pets?” It’s easier for applicants to “tweak the truth” when all they have to do is answer Yes or No. Ask how long term they’re looking to stay, confirm they have the first month’s rent and security deposit available right now. Also be sure to disclose what you charge as a rental application fee (or what the tenant screening service will charge them, if you use ours). Seriously – you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by doing a quick pre-screening interview, before even letting them see the property or completing the free online rental application.
Contact EmployersOur free rental application includes a release clause, authorizing you to contact employers and others to conduct your tenant screening. Be sure to talk to at least two people when contacting your applicants’ employers: someone in HR, and the applicants’ direct supervisor. The HR department can confirm the applicant’s after-tax income, and confirm how long they’ve worked there. Make sure these numbers match what the prospect wrote on their rental application. Your conversation with their supervisor is a bit more nuanced. Ask them what kind of person the applicant is. How reliable they are, whether they show up on time, whether they’re likely to remain employed there in a year from now, etc. Look out for hesitations or qualified answers! If the supervisor isn’t decisively positive, if they hem and haw, beware.
Contact Current (and Former!) LandlordsWho better to tell you what kind of tenant someone is than their landlord? Well, sort of. If they’re a bad enough tenant, the property owner might say anything just to be rid of them. That’s why you should also call applicants’ former landlord or property manager as well. They’ll give you the real scoop on how reliable — or nightmarish — a potential renter is. Be sure to ask previous landlords not only whether they pay the rent on time, but how they treat the property, whether they’ve ever violated any other rules of the lease agreement, or if they’ve ever had to serve them with a notice.
When Everything Else Looks Good… Look at Their Home for YourselfWant to know exactly how they’ll treat your rental property, that you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on? Drop by their current home. Don’t schedule it in advance; you don’t want them to clean up the place for you. You want to see how it looks on a normal, hectic day. Call them in the late afternoon and tell them you’ll be in the neighborhood later and offer to drop by to go over the lease agreement. When you get there, do what you can to get a good look at the property beyond just the living room. Is it neat and tidy, or does it look like the aftermath of a typhoon? How clean are the bathrooms and kitchen? Are there clearly pets, when the prospect wrote on their online rental application that they didn’t have any? How many kids? How many adults? Most of all, would you want your property kept in the condition that you find? Pro tip: be sure to ask to use the bathroom so you can walk through more of the property.
Questions about this online free fill-able rental application? Or about tenant screening or lease agreements?
We’re here for you 😊
Frequently Asked Questions About the Rental Application
What information do I need to enter, to send a rental application?
The applicant’s name and email address, and your name and email address.
We need the applicant’s name and email so we can email them the link to the online application form.
We also need your name and email, so we can let you know when the applicant has filled out the rental application form, so you can view it (plus any requested tenant screening reports) on your account.
How long does the rental application process take? When can I expect to see my rental application and tenant screening reports?
The request is immediately emailed to the applicant, for them to fill out the rental application form. As soon as they complete it, we email you – there’s no lag time on our end, the only cause for delay is the applicant themselves.
If you’ve selected to include tenant screening reports, they will be released as soon as the applicant pays for them.
So practically speaking, it usually takes between a few hours and a few days for you to get your rental application and screening reports back, but it depends entirely on the applicant.
Is the rental application free?
Yes. No strings attached.
What about the tenant screening reports, are they free?
The tenant screening reports – credit report, criminal background check, eviction history report, and housing history report – cost money, but they can be charged directly to your applicant.
Alternatively, you can opt to pay for them yourself.
They cost between $9-15 per report, depending on your account level. You can pick and choose which tenant background reports you want.
Is the online rental application form customizable?
Yes, you can pick and choose sections to include in the rental application form.
Can I charge a rental application fee to the applicant?
Our website is designed to charge the rental applicant directly for tenant screening reports. If you want to charge an application fee on top of that (which we don’t recommend), you can either collect it offline or you can request it the same way you request an online rent payment in our property management software.
Is the rental application state-specific?
No – unlike lease agreements, rental applications do not generally need to be state-specific. State laws vary on leasing terms, fees, and restrictions, but the laws affecting the rental application and tenant screening process are largely federal Fair Housing laws. Here’s some further reading on how landlords can avoid Fair Housing mistakes.
What happens if the applicant refuses to pay for the tenant screening reports?
Tenant screening reports must be paid for before being released (at the risk of stating the obvious!).
With that said, you can choose to run instant reports on them instead, and pay the cost of the reports yourself.
What is the rental application process?
You enter the applicant’s name and email address on our landlord software, and we email them a link inviting them to apply.
They create an account if they don’t have one already, then fill out their details online. If you requested renter screening reports, they must verify their identity and pay for the reports before those reports are released to you.
Is a rental application legally binding?
No, a rental application is not a legal contract to lease your property. It simply provides you with information about a prospective renter to help you make an informed decision about whether to sign a lease agreement with them.
When should I use a rental application?
Every adult prospective tenant who expresses interest in your rental unit should complete and sign a rental application. Hard stop.
Is it better to use a printable rental application form or an online rental application?
An online rental application of course! Save some trees already.
The Lorax aside, an online rental application stays on your account indefinitely, and it’s easy to download copies to your computer as well. In other words, you won’t lose it like you will a single paper copy.
Is there a rental application PDF option, rather than an online rental application form for the applicant to fill out?
Yes, upon request we can provide a rental application template PDF. Create an account and then reply to the Welcome email asking for a copy of it, and we’ll send you a free rental application PDF.
Is this a house rental application form or an apartment application form?
The exact same information is collected in both a house rental application form and an apartment application form. There are literally no differences, these are just different terms for a comprehensive rental application.
What tenant screening reports can I include with the tenant application form?
You can optionally select to include a full credit report, nationwide criminal background check, nationwide eviction history report, and housing history report with SSN trace and identity verification.
Pick and choose any or all of these tenant screening reports to include with your rental application!
Is a lease application form the same as a rental application form?
Yes – a “lease application” is just another name for a rental application.