Rental applications, whether submitted on line via a website or by hard copy, should go through a standard process to determine the eligibility of the applicant. Here are some criteria that should be considered. The process should always be the same for each applicant, remembering to always follow
1. Application fee. This will cover the costs of processing an application and should be paid with the application submission. Many companies charge between $30 and $60 per application.
2. Income. A good standard measure is an Income to Rent Ratio of 3.0, (gross monthly income of three times the monthly rent). This income could be from current employment, Government payouts such as SSI, Child Support, Assistance agencies such as Section 8, and Pensions. The Applicants must supply confirmation for all their income. An applicant which does not meet the 3.0 requirement may be required to have a Co-Signer who would also need to meet the requirements. For payroll income, it is best to have a current paystub which shows the Year-To Date income over a period of time, rather than a onetime payroll amount.
3. Criminal Background. A good credit reporting service will give at least 10 years of law enforcement records on an applicant.
4. Eviction History. It is important to know if the applicant has had any evictions over the last 5 to 10 years.
5. Credit History. It is advantageous to use a service which gives a concise summary of the credit background. The important items are the number of positive and negative trade lines, past due amounts and current collections. Medical bills and student loan debt does not receive the same weight as outstanding charges from utilities and credit card accounts. A good report service will also give a list of civil judgments, bankruptcies, etc.
6. Rental History. Applicant should supply at least two years of verifiable residency. If the applicant is breaking a lease, they should supply a written release from the current landlord.
7. Age of Applicant. The applicant should be at least 18 years of age and all adult occupants should be required to complete a separate application and submit it along with income verification.
The preface to the rental application should enumerate items that would disqualify an applicant, such as eviction by previous landlord, undisclosed criminal record, conviction of certain crimes such as child abuse, current Bankruptcy proceedings, false information on the application, etc.
In keeping with the above criteria, this should enable one to determine the prospective tenant’s ability to maintain the rental payments in a timely manner.