There's a lot to think about for Idaho landlords who are hoping to find potential tenants for their rental properties. Most notably, the process is akin to a delicate balance. From the landlord's perspective, the intention is to ensure that a rental agreement is only established when the "right tenant" is found.
However, there's also a legal side of the equation to consider. Credit checks require consent, there should be nothing that could constitute housing discrimination practices present, certain information can't be requested on rental application forms, etc.
Thankfully, the information below was specially crafted to demystify it all and make the application and tenant screening process requirements as clear as possible.
What To Include
First, you want to bear in mind that anything you request on an Idaho rental application form is supposed to enhance the process by adding value. For example, if you were to ask what high school a prospective tenant went to, it likely would not provide much context into who the person is.
On that note, while much of the information included on these forms is common, feel free to make yours unique to ensure the data you're capturing is relevant. Some of the most common pieces of information are:
- Employment history
- Income details
- Written consent for a credit check
- Rental history
Disclosures to Be Provided
Idaho landlords are also required to make a few disclosures during the rental application process. The intention is to ensure that a tenant who secures the property will be able to safely use it. The disclosures are:
- Rent control rules
- Any potential hazards
- A description of the property's condition
- Smoking policy
- Application fees and any other charges that may be applicable
- Security deposit details
What Not To Include
While there are no state laws that govern the discrimination aspect of things, there is the Fair Housing Act (FHA) at the federal level that provides guidance. To this end, you may not request any of the following protected classes of details:
- Disability status
- Familial status
Application Fee Limits
Like many states, the Idaho rental application process does not have an application fee cap. However, a landlord is advised to always use discretion in setting the fee. A good rule of thumb is to consider the costs that may come with the application.
For example, a screening service may be looped into the rental application process when review time comes around. This would attract a cost and the application fee could be used to cover this.
Security deposits in Idaho are not unlike application fees in the sense that a landlord has the freedom to set the figure wherever is deemed acceptable. Additionally, there is no legal requirement for any receipts to be provided, nor is there one to hold the deposit in any special place.
However, an Idaho landlord must maintain an accurate record showing the details of any security deposit that is paid.
Doing a background check allows a landlord to get a feel for the kind of people completing the Idaho rental application form to secure the property. This falls under the screening element of things.
First, there is the criminal history check. The idea here is to find any state records that see the tenant associated with criminal activity. Additionally, databases such as the national sex offender registry may be checked.
Next, there is the credit history element of things. The Federal Credit Reporting Act stipulates that before landlords do a credit check, written consent must be provided by applicants. This report will give insight into the potential tenant's credit score, income, past credit inquiries, etc.
Finally, there is the rental history check. Filing or judgments that involve eviction generate records that are kept for seven years. The process here attempts to discover any that fall within this time frame.
Adverse Action Notices
After getting a consumer report (criminal, eviction, or credit history), you may find yourself with reservations that may lead you to take adverse action against an applicant. Such actions include:
- Requiring an increased deposit
- Requiring an increased rent
- Adding a co-signer requirement
- Rejecting the potential tenant
If you want to do any of these things, there's a legal requirement to give the applicant an adverse action notice. This is a letter that includes several key details. Even if the discovery that was made in the report is not the main reason why the action is taken, you are still required to provide the notice.
The applicant then has 60 days in which a dispute of the report's contents may be brought forward.
Build Your Own
When all the Idaho rental application forms are completed and the screening process is complete, someone will be selected to become the new tenant. However, the application form does not serve as a legal agreement that will suffice here.
Therefore, you will need to establish a lease agreement with the person. When the time comes, you may do any of the following:
Every tenant needs to know the screening criteria for the rental applications. Any person who is submitting to an Idaho rental application process has the right to know the criteria that will be used to decide who will get to rent the property. Additionally, the applicant should also be made to understand the list of reasons why an approval or a denial may be granted.
A notice of eligibility is used here to share the details. With this done, the person filling out the rental application form must affix a signature to confirm receipt of the details.
The Bottom Line
There's a lot to think about where Idaho rental applications are concerned. There's the written consent landlords need to do a background check, avoiding protected classes of information such as familial status, and ensuring to respect whatever other regulations there are, all while trying to collect the necessary insights.
Why not have the form creation and screening handled by a professional? Doorloop can handle all this on your behalf, which will help to ensure that the selected tenant is an appropriate one.
Do I Have to Keep the Security Deposit in a Separate Account?
No. Idaho is not a state that imposes any such requirement. Your only obligation is to keep an accurate record of deposits received.
What if I Want to Deny an Applicant to My Rental Property Based on a Criminal History Report Finding?
This would constitute an adverse action, and it would only be permitted with the appropriate notice prepared and provided to the applicant.
Is Using a Third-party for the Tenant Screening Process Recommended for Idaho Rental Applications?
Yes. Third parties, such as DoorLoop have comprehensive systems that are used to match landlords with the best tenants possible.