Whether you are a landlord looking to find the ideal tenant for your property, or a renter looking for the perfect new place to live, part of the process for both parties should involve a rental application. This application, similar to a job application, will help determine whether or not the applicant will be approved to move into the property.
If you are a landlord, using the right online rental application will be a crucial step in the process of renting out your property. Allowing potential tenants the opportunity to apply to your property should be a simple process and easily accessible. Once they fill out the application, though, what will be the determining factors for approval or rejection? Conversely, if you are a potential tenant, what are the reasons a rental application is rejected? Read on to find out the answers and learn more about how a free online rental application can make the process simple for both tenant and landlord.
Snapshot Reasons A Rental Application Is Rejected:
- Insufficient Income
- Bad Credit
- Record Of Evictions
- Owning A Pet
The Legality Of Rejection
Due to the Federal Fair Housing Acts, there are specific reasons that a landlord is not allowed to reject an applicant. This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of the following:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
- Physical Or Mental Disability
In some states, this goes even further to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. If you are the landlord, and you are uncertain whether or not the reasons you wish to reject an applicant fall under the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is always best to consult with a local attorney who can guide you through the legality of your options.
The Federal Fair Housing Act is in place to prevent landlords from choosing applicants based on discriminatory factors. However, there are legal reasons that a landlord can review an application and reject the applicant.
Reasons Landlords Reject An Applicant
Now that we have reviewed the reasons it is not OK for a landlord to reject an applicant, let’s dive into the reasons why an application may be rejected. While it is never fun to be the applicant who is rejected, it is also an important part of the process for landlords. The goal of a landlord is to find someone who will be a good fit for their property, mainly in regards to the ability to meet rent requirements. In this vein, the following are reasons a rental application may be rejected:
If you are a landlord, you clearly want your tenants to have the financial means to pay rent each month. If you have an applicant who does not make enough money to financially meet the rent requirement, you can reject them on this basis. For example, if you have a property for rent at $3,000 a month and the applicant to the property can only provide proof that they make $3,000 a month in income, you can easily see that they will run into problems paying rent down the road. Keep in mind as a landlord that you want them to be able to cover normal living costs in addition to rent.
If you are a tenant looking to apply to a property, consider if you will be able to meet all of your normal budgetary needs in addition to the rental amount. A general rule of thumb is that your rent shouldn’t be more than 25 percent of your gross monthly salary.
Poor Credit Report
As a landlord, when you are accepting applications for your rental property, you should ideally be integrating this application with a background check and credit report. The credit report will give you insight into the history of your tenant and the likelihood that they will actually pay their rent each month. A bad credit report with low scores, judgments on outstanding debt, or an indication of major debt, can give reason to reject an applicant.
If you are a renter looking to apply to new properties, it might be a good idea to learn more about your own credit score before you begin the application process. Sit down with your banker and determine where your credit score currently stands and where you need it to be in order to be accepted by most landlords. A general rule of thumb is that landlords will look for credit scores of 620 or higher. The decision will also be in part due to what is reported on your credit score. For example, a landlord will look critically at a low credit score that is due to late payments, wage garnishments, or unpaid items.
Record Of Evictions
One of the biggest red flags on any tenant background check is a history of evictions. Similar to the above point, running a background eviction check on potential tenants can provide great insight into their ability to pay rent on time. A record of evictions goes beyond a simple credit report, as evictions are the most relevant piece of information for landlords.
If you are applying to a rental property and you have evictions on your record, understand that this will be a major red flag for many landlords. This will be particularly true in competitive rental markets. If five people apply to the same property as you and you have a history of evictions, it is logical for a landlord to reject your application due to this factor.
Owning A Pet
As a landlord, although there are things you simply cannot control about potential tenants, you are within your rights to determine you will have a no-pet policy. Deciding whether or not to accept pets is a topic of its own, but if you have decided that you will not allow pets on your property you can reject a tenant because they own one. It is wise to ask about pets on your rental application so you know upfront whether or not the potential tenant owns a pet.
Keep in mind, though, that service animals do not constitute as pets and you cannot discriminate against an applicant due to a service animal.If you are applying to a property and you do own a pet, it is a good idea to check with the landlord about their specific pet policy. You should always be upfront about your pets and disclose this information before you move-in. Trying to sneak a pet into a rental property will only land you into more trouble down the road. Remember, it is within a landlord’s rights to reject your application due to owning a pet.
If you are applying to a property and you do own a pet, it is a good idea to check with the landlord about their specific pet policy. You should always be upfront about your pets and disclose this information before you move-in. Trying to sneak a pet into a rental property will only land you into more trouble down the road. Remember, it is within a landlord’s rights to reject your application due to owning a pet.
Finding The Right Tenant
The above are only some of the reasons a rental application might be rejected. The best way to find the right tenant as a landlord is to first, choose an online rental application that allows you to customize your questions and cover relevant topics. Secondly, you should use an online rental application that allows you to integrate with background checks, credit checks, and provides an eviction report. Lastly, when in doubt seek legal advice. It is better to be 100 percent certain that you are within your legal bounds when you are rejecting an applicant than to take a risk that could cost you a lawsuit later.
- Use an online rental application that provides detailed background info
- Run a tenant screening report including credit and evictions
- Seek legal advice when in doubt
If you are a landlord and you are looking for an easy to use free online rental application, check out the tools we have at TurboTenant. All of our landlord software is accessed online and is 100 percent free to landlords.
DISCLAIMER: Turbo Tenant, LLC does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.