Sending a Missouri rental application form to a prospective tenant is the first step in the screening process. It is intended to provide consent for a background check and the information needed to conduct tenant screening.
However, you must consider federal and state laws when building a Missouri rental application. In this article, we'll discuss the details you need to know about Missouri rental applications.
What to Include
Because a rental application is a legal document, it is important to be cautious when drawing one up. You don't want to leave out important information or include details forbidden by law.
Missouri landlords must also disclose the condition of the property, potential hazards, and their rules for rent, smoking, and pets, among others.
Obtaining Information from the Applicant
Here's what you need to request on your rental application form:
- Personal details
- Credit history
- Income details
- Rental history
- Information about their employer
- Section (or separate document) to grant the landlord permission to run a background check
You will also need to disclose certain information about the residential property to potential tenants. This includes:
- The condition of the rental unit or property
- Possible hazards that the prospective tenant may be exposed to
- Shared utility arrangements
- Rent control rules
- Smoking policy
- The security deposit
- Associated fees
What Not to Include
The Fair Housing Act prohibits the discrimination of tenants based on the following attributes:
- Familial status
In addition to these federal restrictions, Missouri also imposes its own rules. You may not discriminate based on ancestry. Requesting this information in Missouri rental application is unlawful.
There are no restrictions placed on the rental application fee that a landlord in Missouri may charge a potential renter. Although it's recommended not to demand more than the typical out-of-pocket cost, landlords can charge as much or as little as they choose.
Furthermore, under Missouri state law, if a potential tenant's application has been accepted, a landlord may only request a security deposit equal to no more than two months' worth of rent. They are also not obligated to issue tenants a receipt for their security deposits. Still, the funds must be kept in a bank or other financial institution that is federally insured.
Background Check Laws
Before you may continue with the tenant screening process, the Federal Credit Reporting Act requires applicants to grant explicit written consent before a landlord can perform a credit analysis using the details they provide in the rental application.
To ensure that you comply with this law, you can include a section in the Missouri rental application form or create a separate document to obtain this consent.
Types of Background Checks
If you're ready to proceed with the tenant screening process, you can use the information below to learn more about the potential tenant before you approve and draw up a lease agreement.
There are three types of checks that you can do in Missouri. They are:
Criminal History Check
Criminal history is publicly available in Missouri, and you can access these records by mail or using the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS). Alternatively, you can use your property management software from DoorLoop to conduct this check.
You can also find a number of resources online that offer Missouri landlords the opportunity to learn more about an applicant's credit behavior before allowing them to lease a rental property. Most reports are comprehensive, while others simply provide a pass-or-fail result.
Eviction Record Search
Landlords in Missouri have a few alternatives for accessing publicly available records for eviction checks.
The state's Judicial Court Directory offers a free on-demand method for obtaining public records, in addition to third-party property management software that gathers all the data landlords require when conducting this check.
Try out DoorLoop for free by booking a free demo! DoorLoop is the ultimate solution for rental businesses and allows rental business owners to streamline their business processes and run background checks all in one place!
Adverse Action Notices
Suppose you reject the application, request a co-signer, or simply require the applicant to pay rent exceeding the original amount. In that case, you will have to issue an adverse action notice.
You will need to provide the candidate with this notice, even if their credit history was not the reason for rejection.
Build Your Own
If you're ready to create your first Missouri rental application form, you'll be happy to know that you have several options. First, you could make your own from scratch or use a free form. You can find our free form here:
However, these options do not provide the convenience and personalization of third-party software. DoorLoop has an innovative autofill feature, so you can create your application in record time and lease your rental property in no time!
A rental application form can help you learn more about a potential tenant. You can learn more about their rental history, credit behavior, and criminal records. You can create rental applications and other documents using DoorLoop!
Contact us today to try it out for free!
Is there a maximum amount for the application fee in Missouri?
No, there are no restrictions on the amount a landlord may charge in the state.
Do I have to provide the reason why I have rejected a candidate in an adverse action notice?
You are not legally obligated to provide a reason, but it is recommended.
Do I have to obtain consent before running a credit check in Missouri?
Yes! It is illegal to conduct a background check unless you have received written consent from an applicant.