A Louisiana rental application form is the document landlords send to a prospective tenant to collect financial and personal information to determine eligibility. Generally, the data includes eviction and rental history to offer a more accurate profile of the particular applicant. Let's learn more about drafting one.
What to Include
Landlords should ask for crucial data to vet people as possible tenants. When creating an application for the rental property, it should request:
- Permission to run background checks
- Personal references
- Credit history
- Income information
- Employment details
- Rental histories
- Personal data
The landlord is required to include important disclosures, such as:
- Fees involved
- Security deposit information
- Smoking policy
- Rent control rules
- Shared utility arrangements
- Potential hazards for the tenant
- Property conditions
What Not To Include
Through the Federal Fair Housing Act, it's illegal to discriminate against these classes:
- Disability (mental or physical)
- Familial status (having/not having kids)
- National origin (nationality)
Asking about those things on a rental application or using them to base your decision for renting is illegal.
However, Louisiana doesn't have additional protected classes. Still, there are exemptions to the FFHA. In Louisiana, these exemptions are allowed:
- Age - Landlords could ask for an applicant's age or about children in reference to senior housing and other restricted communities. It's called Housing for Older Persons and applies to many categories.
- Familial Status - Landlords could ask about or base the application decision on whether children occupy the rented property in a two-family and owner-occupied building.
- Private Clubs - If a private club operates without access to the public and has no commercial intent, they can give preferential treatment to applications for lodgings that are owned/operated by that club.
- Religious Organizations - Religious beliefs could be used for decisions if the building is supervised, owned, operated, or controlled by a religious organization that doesn't rent for commercial reasons. However, the landlord can't use other protected classes to decide because of this exemption.
- Owner Occupied Properties - Typically, dwellings that have four or fewer units with one occupied by the owner don't deal with Fair Housing laws in Louisiana. That changes if a real estate agent poses as the landlord.
Rental Application Fee Laws
There's no maximum or limit to the fee a landlord could charge the prospective tenant in Louisiana. However, it's advised not to charge over the average expense, though that's at the sole discretion of a landlord.
Additionally, if the tenant's application gets approved, Louisiana state law doesn't set a maximum amount for security deposits. However, counties and cities could impose them. There are no holding requirements or receipt requirements, either.
The next step in the screening process for a tenant is to use any information provided on the rental application to conduct your background check. These include:
- Criminal History Checks - This helps you show records that involve the tenant in state court records or databases like the national sex offender registry.
- Eviction Check - This helps you determine eviction filings and judgments against tenants within the last seven years.
- Credit Check - If the tenant agrees with a written signature, you can conduct a credit check showcasing their credit score, income information, employment data, credit inquiries, past addresses, or more. Alternatively, a pass/fail credit report is also possible.
Laws and Consent for Background Checks
Before you can run credit checks on the person's information within the application, you must get written consent from the applicant as per Federal Credit Reporting Act guidelines. You may do this through the application itself or through a separate consent form.
Eviction Record Search
Eviction records are public in Louisiana, so you can get a copy for free or use third-party services.
To access these records yourself:
- Access the Fifth Circuit Court Records Search.
- Choose to search by litigant name in the dropdown menu.
- Enter the person's name and other information to view the existing records. Dockets that can be viewed have a PDF icon next to them.
If you can't find the information online, contact the Clerk's Office for assistance.
Adverse Action Notices
You're legally required to provide tenants with a notice letter called an adverse action notice if you get a consumer report for the applicant and take the "adverse action" by:
- Requiring higher rent
- Demanding a larger security deposit
- Requiring a co-signer when they didn't need one before
- Rejecting the applicant
Within the notice, you should offer details about the reporting agency, explain that you didn't take the adverse action and don't know why it happened, and let the applicant know they can get a copy of the report to dispute the contents. It's recommended to offer a reason when rejecting someone, though it's not required.
Build Your Own
It's challenging to create your Louisiana rental application because you have to ensure it's legal, doesn't ask improper questions, and provides you with the information needed to vet potential renters.
You don't have to go through a lawyer or muddle through the process alone. Instead, you can quickly create a rental application yourself with Doorloop. Choose a Word document or PDF. We also give you the chance to customize it from the website.
If you need assistance, consider a Louisiana lease agreement. Doorloop provides many services, including project management software. You can get a demo or start using the free forms now. Stay organized with Doorloop!
Why Do You Require a Louisiana Rental Application?
The rental application form helps you learn more about prospects before entering into a legal agreement with them. You can collect information about the potential resident with consent.
What Are the Credit References for a Rental Application Form?
This document offers information about the applicant's credit history for a given rental property. You can request that on the application itself to assess whether they can meet the payment schedule you set up.
What Can't You Ask on a Rental Application?
You can't use the rental application to ask about race, ethnicity, sexuality, familial status (married, children, etc.), arrest records, religion, and immigration and citizenship status.