A rental application form is a document used by Florida landlords when they want to screen prospective tenants. These documents will evaluate information about the prospective tenant to determine if they're a suitable candidate for staying in the rental property.
Some of the information collected by the property manager includes:
- Rental history
- Criminal history
- Credit history
- and more
The rental application process (and the rental application fees) will vary depending on the state, so if you're seeking more information about the state of Florida, this is the right page for you. Make sure to follow all of the clauses stated in this article so that you comply with Florida laws at each step of the rental process.
Florida Rental Application Fees
According to Florida law, there are no restrictions regarding the application fee; this means that landlords (or any other responsible party) are able to charge anything they want for their Florida rental application.
While the landlord can charge anything they want for the application fee, it's not recommended to charge more than what's considered an "average out-of-pocket" expense.
Another important thing to consider is that Florida, as a state, doesn't place any limits regarding the maximum amount for security deposits, although some cities or counties may have particular limits surrounding the security deposit amount.
The landlord can request the following information in the rental application to screen prospective tenants:
Credit Report or Check
First, the prospective tenant must provide written consent so that the landlord can receive either a simple credit check or a report. The credit check often includes a "pass/fail" report, whereas the report has more information surrounding employment, income, and more.
In this part of the rental application, the landlord will receive information about the tenant's history of evictions, including judgments against them or eviction filings in general over the past seven years.
Criminal History Check
The criminal history report will provide the landlord with any records involving the tenant's involvement in any state court criminal records. Moreover, it will show if the tenant appears on any related databases.
Laws and Consent Guidelines to Follow for Background Checks in Florida
As required by the Federal Credit Reporting Act, the tenant must provide written consent so that the landlord can receive the credit background check. The consent can be sent in a separate statement or within the rental application form itself.
Overall, the landlord doesn't need to ask for consent for asking for a background check involving evictions or criminal acts.
Things you can't include
The Federal Fair Housing Act places a few restrictions on landlords. Generally speaking, they're not legally allowed to discriminate against any of the following "protected groups:"
- Nationality or National Origin
- Familial Status
- Physical or Mental Disability
Moreover, it's vital to note that asking about any of the factors mentioned above is illegal. Some exemptions landlords can consider include the following:
- Religious Organizations - If the property is owned or operated by any religious organization that's not renting it for commercial purposes, the landlord may have a preference for it.
- Age - Although landlords cannot ask for the tenant's age in general guidelines, they can do it if the rental involves age-specific communities, such as senior housing.
- Owner-Occupied Dwellings - The Mrs. Murphy exemption allows the landlord to avoid the FHA laws if they live in a unit from a single-family property with four dwellings or less; this also applies if the landlord represents themself during the rental process. Still, the landlord is prohibited from discriminating against someone based on their race.
- Private Clubs - Any clubs that operate without public access or commercial purposes may have special consideration for non-commercial lodgings owned by the private property, as long as they don't discriminate against any members.
Eviction Record Search
Landlords can check a potential tenant's eviction records in Florida's public records; they can either do it manually or through a screening program. The manual process goes like this:
- Go to Florida's Supreme Court Docket Search, and choose the "Party or Attorney" option.
- Enter the name information of your potential tenant to access their documents. If you know anything about the tenant's previous rentals' jurisdictions, you may specify the county.
- Choose a "Count" from the far right column, then click on a particular case number you're interested in for more information.
Adverse Action Notices
Some things considered "adverse action" include the following:
- Asking for a higher rental amount
- Asking for a co-signer (and you didn't have one before)
- Asking for a higher security deposit
- Rejecting the potential tenant
If you plan on taking adverse action against the applicant after getting their consumer report, you are required to get an "adverse action notice" to the tenant. It's not legally required to specify the reason why you're rejecting the applicant, although it's recommended.
Overall, the notice must include information about why they didn't take the adverse action themselves, the consumer reporting agency, and a copy of everything in the report. Applicants are allowed to dispute the notice within 60 days.
Build Your Own
If you find the process of creating a Florida rental application too complicated, feel free to download our free application form today. Click on the "Rental Application Forms" option on the drop-down menu, and choose either the PDF or Word format of the document.
You may also download a customizable version of the document if you want to make any adjustments.
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As you can see, there aren't many restrictions surrounding Florida applications, especially regarding application fees or security deposits. In case you want further assistance, don't hesitate to download our free template.
How Much Is a Rental Application Fee in Florida?
Typically, most landlords charge about $30 per applicant, although there's no legal limit for these fees.
What Credit Score Is Needed to Rent a House in Florida?
It depends on the market and the landlord. Some people require a minimum score of 650, whereas applicants with combined household income may be required to have a minimum score of 590.
What Are a Tenant's Requirements to Rent in Florida?
The tenant needs the following:
- Proof of Current Income and Income Requirement
- Credit History
- Criminal Record (if there's any)
- Eviction History