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A rental application form is a document designed to obtain information from prospective tenants and get written consent for running a background check. It is also used to provide certain disclosures about the rental property.

If you are a landlord and need help creating a Georgia rental application, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll provide the information you need to ensure you abide by rental laws.

Tenant Screening

When creating your rental application, you must list the screening criteria you will use to determine the eligibility of a prospective tenant. This could include:

  • No criminal records
  • Income or a certain debt-to-income ratio prerequisite
  • No pets
  • Non-smoker

Additionally, you must be consistent in your tenant screening. This means that no landlord should ever make an exception to the standards you've established. Case-by-case decision-making could be construed as discrimination, which could land you in trouble and lead to the applicant taking legal action against you.

What to Include

Here's what information you should request in your application:

  • Personal details
  • Employment status and details about income
  • Rental history
  • Personal preferences
  • Credit history
  • A space for the candidate to provide their written consent to allow you to conduct a background check
  • Disclosures about the property's condition and the presence of any environmental or health risks

What Not to Include

The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for landlords to ask for the following information in rental application forms:

  • Nationality
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Color
  • Familial status
  • Disability
  • Religion

Keep in mind that certain exemptions apply.

Laws in Georgia

There is no upper limit or cap on the application fees that a landlord may charge a potential renter in Georgia.

Although it's recommended not to charge more than the typical out-of-pocket price, the landlords ultimately have the last say in how much to charge. Application fees are non-refundable and are separate from the security deposit.

Furthermore, Georgia state law does not place a limit on the amount that landlords may charge for security deposits, and they are not required by law to give renters receipts for security deposits.

Types of Background Checks

In the section below, we'll take a look at some of the important checks you can do during the tenant screening process and how they work.

  • Criminal history. A criminal background check tries to reveal any records concerning the renter in archives like state criminal records or the national sex offender public database.
  • Credit check. You will need to obtain consent before conducting this check. Some resources provide a comprehensive credit report, while others simply return a pass or fail result. You can use this information to determine a candidate's ability to pay the monthly rent.
  • Eviction record check. This information will let you know whether an applicant has been evicted in the last seven years.

Eviction Record Search

Since Georgia's eviction records are publicly accessible, anyone can see them. You have the option of doing this manually or by using third-party software. There is a $0.50 fee per page for records obtained and a minor fee for retrieving the records manually. Here's how:

  1. Visit the PeachCourt website and follow the prompts to create an account.
  2. Use the search feature to access the candidate's records.

Background Checks

According to the Federal Credit Reporting Act, the potential tenant must grant written approval before a landlord can perform a background check using the details on the filed rental application. The document itself may contain a declaration to that effect, and a signature or a supplementary permission form may be used to provide this written consent.

Adverse Action Notices

If you choose to reject a candidate's application or request a higher security deposit or monthly rent, you will need to provide the applicant with an adverse action notice. This notice should include the reason why the application was rejected and a copy of the credit report.

Build Your Own

When it comes time to build your own rental application form, you have two options. You can choose to use our free form in PDF and Word format or use our property management software to quickly and easily create the perfect lease application.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the information you need, you can draw up your Georgia rental application forms. Suppose you feel like the process is overwhelming. In that case, the good news is that DoorLoop's innovative software solution is available to help you build rental documents and manage your business more effectively.

To find out more about our property management software or book a free demo, give us a call today!

FAQs

Is the security deposit amount capped at one month's rent in Georgia?

No, there are no restrictions on the amount a landlord may charge as a deposit.

Can I charge potential tenants an application fee? Is there a restriction on the amount I can charge?

Yes, you can. Unlike other states, there is no cap on the application fee that you can charge candidates.

Is there a free form I can use to draw up my rental application?

Absolutely! We have a free form available that you can download and edit. You can find them in the following formats:

Free Downloads

David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!