An Oregon rental application form is the document landlords use to collect financial and personal information that relates to a potential tenancy. The data helps you when screening applicants and can ensure that you rent to a suitable applicant.
You're not required to hire a lawyer to create a form, and there are templates at Doorloop that can help. Let's learn what to include in yours!
Oregon Rental Application Form
Tenants and landlords must provide certain information on the Oregon rental application form so that it complies with state laws.
Landlords can ask for:
- Personal data
- Employment details
- Rental history
- Credit history
- Income information
- Permission for background checks
- Personal references
Likewise, landlords must disclose this information:
- Potential hazards to tenants
- Property condition
- Rent control rules
- Shared utility arrangements
- Associated fees
- Security deposit information
- Smoking policy
Sometimes, the information provided varies, especially for different rental types like residential or commercial. Either way, both parties should get a clear picture about the lease's nature before signing any agreement.
What You Shouldn't Include
State and federal laws are there to protect a potential tenant from unfair discrimination throughout the application process. Therefore, the Federal Fair Housing Act says that it is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against these protected classes:
- National origin (nationality)
- Familial status (having/not having children)
- Disability (mental or physical)
Oregon state law goes further with additional protection for these classes:
- Source of income (public or rental assistance)
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
You cannot ask about these criteria in person or in writing and can't use them to make your decision based on the rental application. It's illegal to ask about those pieces of information on a rental application form or use them in any way.
There are exemptions to the Fair Housing laws in Oregon, which include:
- Familial Status - You can ask about or base the application decision on whether children occupy the premises (familial status) for two-family buildings that are owner-occupied.
- Owner Occupied Properties - If the owner lives in a unit within a single-family property, it's got four or fewer dwellings, and the owner is represented during the leasing process, the Mrs. Murphy exception applies. However, race can't be a deciding factor, and there can't be discriminatory advertisements discouraging certain groups.
- Age - Landlords can ask for the age of the applicant for age-specific communities, including senior housing.
- Religious Organizations - Religion may be used to give preference to applicants for property owned, controlled, supervised, or operated by a religious organization if it doesn't rent for commercial means. However, the other protected classes can't be the basis for decision-making because of this exemption.
- Sexual Orientation - Discrimination laws against sexual orientation don't apply for single-family residences where the owner is also an occupant, and they share a common area.
- Private Clubs - Private clubs operating without commercial intent and public access can offer preferential treatment to applicants for lodgings that are operated or owned by that club.
Rental Application Fee Laws
Typically, a landlord or agent should meet these criteria when charging an application fee to complete the Oregon rental application:
- Disclose the method, cost, and criteria of the screening
- Disclose whether the tenant requires renter's insurance
- The price of the security deposit and rent
- Provide estimates of similar rental units and pending application estimates
The landlord may only ask an applicant to pay one charge for the screening process in a 60-day period, regardless of how many they have applied to that the landlord owns. If the landlord fills the unit before the screening, they must refund that application fee within a reasonable amount of time.
Average Actual Cost
Oregon doesn't allow you to charge a fee that might exceed the average actual cost of finishing the screening process, which often includes professional fees required for manual screening. Landlords should provide a receipt and copy of the background check according to guidelines from the Fair Credit Report Act.
If the applicant is approved, the landlord can charge a security deposit. Oregon state law claims that there's no limit as to what the security deposit amount could be. However, the landlord must provide a receipt for that security deposit, including that amount in the lease agreement. There are no holding requirements necessary for security deposits, though.
The screening process continues by using the information on the Oregon rental application to conduct a background check. These include:
- Criminal History Check - The criminal history shows records involving the tenant in databases and state court criminal records. You may use the national sex offender registry. Oregon makes it illegal to refuse to rent to the tenant solely based on a previous arrest, which includes some criminal convictions.
- Eviction Check - This shows the tenant's history of evictions and judgments against them within the last five years.
- Credit Check - You must get written consent from the tenant, but this can be a full report or of the pass/fail variety, indicating past addresses, employment, income, and credit inquiries.
The landlord must tell potential tenants the address and name of the credit report and screening company used.
Laws and Consent for Background Checks
Before the landlord can run credit checks on the tenant's information in the rental application, they must get written consent from the person. The Federal Credit Reporting Act requires it. Written permission can be included as a statement on the rental application or separately through another consent form.
Eviction Record Search
Evictions are accessible to the public through the online record searching system in Oregon. Agents and landlords can use them to complete the screening for evictions instead of using a paid service. While this isn't necessarily part of the Oregon rental application, you should use whatever information you get to conduct this search.
The steps to take include:
- Visit the Judicial Department Online Records Search website for Oregon.
- Choose "Smart Search" toward the bottom of the page.
- Enter the person's name and complete your captcha.
- Tap "submit" to see cases involving your applicant.
- Choose the case number and get the details.
Adverse Action Notices
If you get a consumer report on an applicant, including evictions and criminal history, you can take an adverse action against them by:
- Requiring higher rent
- Requiring a bigger security deposit
- Demanding a co-signer where one wasn't necessary before
- Rejecting the applicant as a tenant
However, you must send them a notice letter called an adverse action notice if you do so. It's required, even if you didn't use the report information explicitly to make the decision.
The notice should include an explanation saying that the landlord didn't take the adverse action or explain why it was made and information about the consumer reporting agency used. This must be sent within 60 days.
Build Your Own
We know it's difficult to create a rental application that's legal and gives you access to the data necessary to vet potential renters.
You can easily create your own Oregon rental application. Doorloop makes it easy to download the Word document, PDF, or customize it directly from the website. While you're at it, you can build a residential lease agreement that's ironclad to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
Doorloop offers many other services, such as project management software and more. Request a demo today and see how easy it is to stay organized with Doorloop on your side!
Can You Ask for a Tenants' Social Security Number in the Rental Application?
You don't have to request a person's Social Security Number on an Oregon rental application. However, you may do so if you want to run specific background checks on them.
Additionally, you must receive written permission on the application if you plan to use their SSN. Handling someone else's SSN information means protecting it at all costs.
Screening companies can usually obtain the person's SSN by requesting it from the applicant in email.
What Can't a Landlord Ask on a Rental Application in Oregon?
You can't ask the tenant certain things or request information that regards their immigration/citizenship status, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, race, arrest records, and more. There are exceptions to some of those rules, which we explained earlier.
Why Do You Need a Rental Application?
A rental application helps you learn more about your tenants before committing to signing a legal contract with them. It lets you review rental histories, verify employment and income, and learn about credit and criminal issues.