Renting your property as a Kentucky landlord is a serious business. It's tough enough to design a workable rental application form with everything you have to consider. On top of that, the screening and decision-making process needs to be all but flawless if you don't want to rent the place to a tenant that is late on rent all the time or has some other issue.
As if the odds weren't already stacked in the wrong direction, there's also the fact that there are legal requirements to bear in mind. The last thing you want is to be facing legal trouble because your Kentucky rental application form asked for something it wasn't supposed to, right?
All the details are below to help Kentucky landlords evaluate prospective tenant options in the best way possible.
What To Include
Don't think about other rental application form layouts that you have seen up until this point. What matters most here is the information on an applicant that you would need to have enough confidence to rent the property to the person.
Whatever you ask for should be conducive to whatever screening process you will use to decide who will become the lucky tenant. Some of the standard insights are:
- Personal information of every intended tenant
- Written consent for background checks
- Employment details
- Income information
Disclosures That Kentucky Landlords Should Ensure a Rental Application Form Bears
Beyond what Kentucky landlords require an applicant to place on the created document, certain disclosures must be made, which will tell a tenant hopeful that the property is safe to use, among other details. These include:
- Security deposit information
- Application fee and other charges
- Smoking policy
- Rent control regulations
- Hazards to be aware of
What Not To Include
The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) outlaws discrimination as a part of the rental application proceedings. To avoid this, a landlord should never request certain protected classes of information, which are:
- Familial status
Even if you can infer or otherwise obtain this information independent of the rental application, it is illegal to use it as a part of the approval/denial equation.
Rental Application Fee Laws
The state of Kentucky does not impose any limits on the application fees that a landlord can charge. Even in the absence of a maximum amount, it's not advised to charge an excessive fee. Note also that these charges are non-refundable.
Security Deposit Regulations
Security deposits are like application fees in the sense that there is no cap to indicate how much a landlord can charge an applicant. However, when a tenant is approved, that person must know where the security deposit is being held and the account number associated with it.
Legally, it must be held in a separate account and must be located at a financial institution that is federally regulated.
Types of Background Checks
When the Kentucky rental application document is filled out, an applicant will likely be asked to confirm background check consent. Typically, three different background checks will be done, which are as follows.
Credit History Report
Consent is essential here because it is mandated by the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A credit history report will provide several useful pieces of data including previous credit inquiries, the current credit score, employment and income details, previous addresses, etc.
This is another typical check done before a property is rented to someone. The idea here is to use criminal records at both the state and federal levels to see if the applicant has been booked for any such activity.
Data on Kentucky eviction history is kept for up to seven years and is available for public review. The biggest concern here is what judgments or eviction indictments are recorded against the potential renter.
Adverse Action Notices
After checking the applicant's background and getting consumer reports such as a criminal history report or a credit report, you may want to make a decision such as rejecting the rental application for the property, increasing the rental cost, or even requiring a second signature.
These are called adverse actions. If you wish to take one, you must legally provide the prospective renter with a document known as an "adverse action notice."
It will detail the findings, the agency that provided the data, the intended action, etc. The recipient of the document has 60 days to dispute it.
Build Your Own
When you have decided which renter you want to have the property, a Kentucky lease agreement must then be drafted, which is the legally binding document that lays out the expectations on both sides. Thankfully, it's all accessible here:
The Kentucky rental application procedure can be quite tedious to get through as there are so many figurative checkboxes that you need to mark off before you get started.
Did you know that you don't have to bear the responsibility of doing it all? Doorloop is highly qualified in Kentucky rental regulations and screening of tenants. Why not get the hard work handled on your behalf?
What if a Landlord Lives in the Dwelling? Do the Federal Fair Housing Act Rules Still Apply?
No. There are very specific circumstances where it becomes acceptable to ask for what would usually be protected classes of information. For example, if there is a dwelling that has up to four units and one is occupied by the owner, the Mrs. Murphy Exemption applies, which means an exemption is granted so long as a real estate agent is not representing the owner.
Can I Deny a Rental Application Based on a Potential Tenant's Credit Score?
Yes, you are allowed to do so. However, since this information would be coming from a consumer report, you will need to use the adverse action process for the denial.
Do I Have to Request That a Potential Tenant Provides a Social Security Number (SSN) During the Kentucky Rental Application Process?
No. There is no legal requirement for an SSN though you can request one. However, you will need to inform applicants what you will be using it for and get their consent.