How to Accept And Manage Applications
As a landlord, accepting and managing rental applications is a crucial part of the rental process.
It's important to have a clear and organized system in place to ensure that you can quickly and efficiently screen potential tenants and select the best candidate for your property.
In this post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to accept and manage applications as a landlord.
First, we'll highlight why landlords need to set up a system to manage and accept applications.
Why Landlords Need a System for Their Rental Applications
As a landlord, having a clear and organized system in place can help to ensure that you can quickly and efficiently screen a prospective tenant and select the best candidate for your property.
Below, we will explain why landlords need to have a system for accepting and managing rental applications for their rental property.
Finding the right tenant
The most important reason for having a system for accepting and managing applications is to find the right tenant for your property.
By creating a clear and comprehensive application form, advertising the availability of the property, and thoroughly screening potential tenants, you can ensure that you choose the best candidate for your property.
Another important reason for having a system for accepting and managing applications is to minimize the risk of potential problems down the road.
By thoroughly screening potential tenants and keeping accurate records, you can reduce the risk of issues such as non-payment of rent or damage to the property.
Compliance with laws
Having a system for accepting and managing applications can also help to ensure compliance with fair housing laws and regulations.
By setting clear criteria and sticking to them, and familiarizing yourself with federal, state, and local laws, you can ensure that your screening process is compliant and avoid potential legal issues.
A clear and consistent system for accepting and managing applications can also help to build trust with potential tenants, allowing you to bring in better tenants who are pickier.
- Clear instructions on how to submit an online rental application
- Communicating with potential tenants about the status of their application, and
- Responding to any questions or concerns
You can create a positive experience for prospective tenants, even if they are not ultimately selected for your property.
How to Accept Rental Applications
Now that you understand the importance of setting up a system, let's discuss how to actually manage and accept rental applications.
Let's start from the top:
Create an application form
The first step in accepting and managing applications is to create a clear and comprehensive application form.
This form should include all of the information that you need to properly screen potential tenants, such as their contact information, employment and income information, rental history, credit report, and any other relevant information.
It's also important to include a section for references and make sure to include consent for a background check.
How to create an application form
Creating a basic rental application form can be difficult to do from scratch, so here are some steps to follow to maximize success:
- Research: Start by gathering all the necessary information that you will need to include in the application form, such as personal information, employment history, and previous rental history. Also, research if charging a rental application fee is appropriate for your investment.
- Focus on readability: Design the layout and structure of the form, making sure it is easy to read and understand.
- Gather information: Include a section for the applicant to provide their personal information, such as their name, address, phone number, and email address.
- Employment information: Include a section for the applicant to provide their employment and income information, such as their current employer, job title, and income.
- Ask for rental history: Include a section for the applicant to provide their previous rental history, such as the address of their previous residence, the name and contact information of their previous landlord, and how long they lived there. Ask if they have any personal references. Don't forget to run a credit and background check during the tenant screening process on the residential rental application.
- Additional information: Include a section for the applicant to provide any additional information or notes that they feel may be relevant to the application.
- Ensure truthfulness: Include a section for the applicant to sign and date the form, indicating that the information provided is accurate and truthful.
- Add a personal touch: Make sure to include a disclaimer and your signature as a landlord.
- Make copies: Once the form is complete, make sure to make copies of the form for your records, and provide the original to the applicant.
Advertise the availability of the property
Once you have your application form ready, many property managers advertise the availability of the property.
You can do this by posting online ads on popular rental websites, such as Zillow.
Make sure to include high-quality photos and detailed descriptions of your property, including rental application fees, amenities, and features that make it stand out.
You can also post on your social media platforms, put up signs and flyers, and host open houses.
Collect and review applications
Once you start receiving applications, it's important to collect them in a clear and organized manner.
This can include using a digital application form that can be easily stored and accessed, or using a physical file system.
Review each application carefully, checking for completeness and accuracy.
Screen potential tenants
Once you have reviewed the tenant application form, it's important to thoroughly screen potential tenants. This includes credit and background checks, employment status, and rental history.
You can also ask for references from their previous landlords and ask them questions like how long they have lived there, their rent payment history, any issues they have had with the tenant, etc.
It's also a good idea to run a background check to verify the information provided by the tenant.
Select the best candidate
After screening potential tenants, it's time to select the best candidate for your property.
Consider factors such as credit score, income, rental history, and references.
It's also important to consider the tenant's ability to pay rent and take care of the property.
Once you have selected the best candidate, it's time to sign the lease and move on to the next steps.
Manage Rental Applications
It's important to have a system in place to manage applications that are not selected.
This can include sending a rejection letter or email, and keeping a record of all applications received, including the reasons for rejection.
This will help you keep track of the applications and ensure that you have a record of the process in case of any legal issues.
Another important aspect to consider when accepting and managing applications is setting clear criteria and sticking to them.
It's important to have a consistent and fair process for evaluating applications and to avoid any potential discrimination.
This includes not only federal fair housing laws, but also state and local laws.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with these laws, and ensure that your screening process is compliant.
It's also important to be transparent with potential tenants about the screening process and to provide them with clear instructions on:
- How to apply
- What information you need, and
- How you will be evaluating their applications.
This will help to build trust and ensure that all applicants are treated fairly.
Have a plan for storing deposits and security fees
In addition to managing applications, it's also important to have a plan in place for handling deposit and security fees.
This includes setting clear policies and procedures, keeping accurate records, and ensuring that all payments are handled legally and ethically.
Be Ready to Reject Applicants
Now that you have your process in place, it's important to be aware that not every applicant will work out.
It's important to be prepared for the possibility of rejecting applicants.
Even if you have a clear and consistent process in place, not all applicants will be accepted for your property.
It's important to be prepared for this possibility and to have a plan in place for communicating with rejected applicants and managing their security deposits and other fees.
Manage your applications
In conclusion, accepting and managing applications as a landlord is a crucial part of the rental process.
By following this guide, you can ensure that you choose the best tenant for your property and minimize the risk of potential problems down the road.
Additionally, having a plan for deposit and security fees, and being prepared for rejection, can also help ensure a smooth process.