Before leasing out your property to an individual or organization, it is important to ask a number of questions and to request for certain information that will guide your decision and help you get acquainted with prospective tenants. This is usually done as part of a tenant screening application process. 

Tenant screening is an integral part of the leasing process and it often determines whether an individual or organization will be granted or denied tenancy. It is important for both property owners and proposed tenants to understand what a tenant screening application is how to go about it.

What is a Tenancy Screening Application? 

A tenant screening application is an evaluation process employed by property owners and real estate managers to assess prospective tenants before leasing out a property. It usually involves asking for information such as bio-data, employee details, criminal and eviction history plus other relevant documents. 

In many cases, property owners depend on tenant screening companies to carry out a tenant screening application. Tenant screening companies are regulated customer reporting agencies or investigative consumer reporting agencies that can carry out a professional evaluation on prospective tenants for a fee. 

After carrying out a tenancy screening application, the screening company is required to compile a tenancy screening report which typically highlights all the information gathered during the screening process. This report is then presented to the landlord to help him or her make a decision with regard to the tenant's request. 

Features of a Tenant Screening Application 

The following pieces of information must be included in a tenant screening application: 

  • Applicant's Basic Information

This can also be referred to as the bio-data section in the tenant screening application form. It caters to the personal information of the proposed tenant including his or her age, state of origin and geographical location. 

The details provided here will help the owner of the property to accurately profile his or her client and this will aid familiarisation between both parties. 

  • Address History

This refers to the residential information of the proposed tenant. Here, the owner of the property requires the leasee to provide a list of all the places he or she has lived in up to the present moment. 

With the address history of the tenant-to-be, the landlord or real estate agent can find out more information about the individual in terms of his or her behavior from the property owners of the listed locations. 

  • ID Number - Social Security Number

The proposed tenant is also required to provide his or her ID Number and Social Security Number. Both of these confirm that such an individual is legally permitted to live and work in the United States. 

  • Number of Occupants

A tenant screening application also collects information on the number of occupants for the property in question. This is important because, in the US, some houses cannot be occupied by more than a particular number of persons. 

For instance, there are houses that are best suited for families and there are also houses that are best suited for single occupants. If a property owner exceeds the stipulated number of occupants for his or her building, there could be legal implications. 

  • Employment History

The prospective tenant is also expected to provide information on his or her employment history. This information is important because it helps the property owner determine if the individual in question can meet up with the financial obligations of the property. 

  • References

Just as in a job application, the prospective tenant should provide one or more references as part of the tenant screening application. These references stand as sureties or guarantors and should be individuals who have a one-on-one relationship with the tenant to-be. 

What are the Qualities of an Ideal Tenant

The ideal tenant is someone who satisfies the following criteria:

  • Regular monthly income.
  • A clean eviction report.
  • Good credit score.
  • Steady employment
  • Good References 

33 Tenancy Screening Question Examples 

What is your monthly income?
Typically, the ideal tenant earns 3 times his or her rent. This question helps you determine if the tenant can meet up with the financial demands of the property. 

tenancy-screening-income-question

  • Are you currently employed

This question is important because you need to be sure that the tenant has a constant stream of income to cater for the rent. 

  • How long have you worked with your present organization?

This question gives a background of the employment history of the prospective client.

  • Where is your office located?

This question enables you to accurately profile the individual in question. 

  • Would you be living alone?

You need to know if the prospective tenant would be living alone or cohabitating with people. You need to be sure that you adhere to local rental laws in your country and only rent out your property to the maximum allowable occupants.

  • How many people would be living with you?

This is a follow-up question to the previous one. If the prospective tenant plans to cohabitate with other persons, you need to know how many persons are involved. 

  • Have you filed for bankruptcy recently?

This question helps you to ascertain the level of financial buoyancy of the prospective tenant. Chances are if the tenant has recently filed for bankruptcy, he or she may not be able to meet up with the financial obligation of the property. 

  • Have you ever received an eviction notice?

If the response to this is positive, it may be a red flag and you may have to disregard the tenant in question. 

  • Are you willing to sign a 1-year lease agreement? 

tenant-screening-application-form-formplus

  • How many parking spaces do you require?

This will help you make adequate provision for the tenant. Also, it would help you determine if your property is appropriate for the prospective tenant. 

  • Are you married?

Some residential properties are not appropriate for individuals who are married and intend to start a family. Hence, it is important for you to request information on the marital status of the proposed tenant. 

  • How many kids do you have? 
  • Can you obtain a positive reference from your current landlord?
  • Would you be able to pay our lease application fee?

This would also help you decide if the individual can meet up with the necessary financial obligations. 

  • Does your current landlord know you're moving out?

Some tenants may be moving out in order to avoid meeting up with outstanding obligations. Try to find out if they have already informed their landlords about their plans to move out. 

  • How many vehicles do you own?

This question would help you make adequate parking space arrangements for the proposed tenant. 

  • Is your credit score at least 670?

670 is widely considered as a good credit score for a working-class neighborhood rental.  A good credit score is an indicator that the tenant can meet up with the financial demands of your property. 

  • Have you ever been late paying your rent?

Late rent payment can be an indicator that the individual may not be able to meet up with the payments for your property, especially when this is constant. However, one-off situations may not be taken too seriously and should not affect your decision to lease out your property to an individual. 

  • Can you explain the gaps in your employment history?

Employment continuity is also an important factor. Your rental application and tenant screening questions should ask applicants to provide at least a few years of employment history. Employment gaps should not be a problem unless they are constant. 

  • Why are you moving?

This question helps to discover the reason your prospective tenant is changing residences. You may reject his or her rental application if the answer provided is suspicious. 

  • Can I contact your current/previous landlord to get more information about you?

tenant-screening-application-form

  • Can I contact your present employer?

Even if the prospective tenant did not list his or her present employer in the reference section, you can still ask to speak with the employer. 

  • Do you have frequent overnight guests?

It is best if you can have a fair idea of the persons who will be staying over at your property, frequently. 

  • What kind of job do you do?
  • Does your job require you to stay out late?
  • Do you have pets?

If you have a no-pets policy simply inform the prospective tenant and ask if this will be a problem. 

  • What kind of pets do you have?

Even if you do not have a no-pets policy, it is important for you to find out the type, weight, and breed of the pet the tenant has. 

  • How long do you intend to live here? 

tenant-screening-form

  • Would you require more than 1 parking space?

This question is necessary because it enables the property owner to make adequate provisions to cater for this. 

  • Do any of your housemates smoke?

Many property owners do not allow smoking within the property because of fire risks and other hazards that can result from this habit. Often times, they may refuse to rent out their properties to an individual who cohabitates with people who smoke. 

  • Do any of your prospective housemates own pets?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

It is also necessary to obtain the criminal records, if any, of your prospective tenant. This will guide you in making a decision. 

  •  How soon do you intend to move in?

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Uses of a Tenant Screening Application

  • Background Check

A background check is a process of verifying the information provided by a prospective tenant before approving his or her rental application. When carrying out a tenant screening application, it is important to verify the following information:

  • Rental history

A background check also reveals the rental history of the prospective client. With this, the property owner would gather information about the number of rentals the prospective tenant has been involved with, the duration of these rentals plus other necessary details. 

Knowing a tenant's rental history goes a long way in informing the lease decision of the landlord. 

  • Credit Score Check

A good credit score is a strong indicator that the tenant would be able to meet up with all the financial obligations related to your property. 

  • Eviction Check

An eviction check is an important step that must be taken before you agree to rent out your property to any individual. In many cases, a previous eviction is an indicator that the tenant is not responsible and could be a source of problems in the future. 

  • Felony/conviction

It is important to have information about a tenant's criminal records before leasing your property to him or her. Felony is a serious crime that attracts a jail term of at least 1 year. 

An individual who has been convicted for a felony can be violent and this is why you must take this information seriously. 

  • Determine Applicant Stability

A tenant screening application also helps you to identify the most stable prospective tenants with whom you can enter into a rewarding rental relationship. These are usually individuals who have no criminal record, who can afford the rent, who are gainfully employed and have no criminal record. 

  • A tenant screening application also gives you an insight into the habits of prospective tenants.You get first-hand information about their habits and you can reach a compromise on how to best handle these throughout the rental period. 

How to Create an Online Tenant Screening Application Form with Formplus 

  • Sign in to Formplus

tenant-screening-questionnaire

You can easily create your online tenant screening application form in the Formplus builder by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on "Create Form " to begin. 

  • Edit Form Title

Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, " Tenant Screening Application Form". 

tenant-screening-application-form


  • Edit Form: Click on the edit button to edit the form.
  • Add Fields: Drag and drop preferred form fields into your form in the Formplus builder inputs column. There are several field input options available in the Formplus builder including payment fields and e-signature fields
  • Edit fields: Click on the edit icon beside a form field to modify it. You can modify your form fields to be read-only or hidden, here. 


tenant-application-form-formplus


  • Click on "Save"
  • Preview form. 
  • Tenant Screening Application Form Customization

With Formplus, you can add unique features to your online tenancy agreement form. You can also personalize your screening application form with various customization options available in the builder.

Formplus allows you to add preferred background images, your organization's logo, and other features to your tenant screening application form. You can also change the display theme of your form. 


tenant-application-template-formplus


  • Share your Form Link with Respondents

Formplus offers multiple form sharing options which enables you to easily share your tenant screening application form with prospective tenants. With the direct social media sharing buttons, you can easily share your form link to your social media pages. 

Formplus also enables you to send out your tenant screening application form as an email invitation. Your online tenant screening application form has a unique QR code that you can embed on your website so that proposed tenants can simply scan to fill. 

tenant-screening-form-sharing


Ready-Made Tenant Screening Application Form Template To Use

  • Rental Application Form

Use this rental application form to swiftly collect and process rental requests for your properties. With the Formplus rental application form, you can collect a variety of information from prospective tenants and, you can even collect payments and signatures directly in your form. 

  • Roommate Agreement Form

Are you planning to share your lodge or apartment with a roommate? Use the Formplus roommate agreement form to facilitate the arrangements between you and your new roommate and prevent any disagreements or disputes in the future. 

This roommate agreement form clearly spells out the terms and conditions for the cohabitation including the responsibilities of all parties involved. 

Conclusion 

With a tenant screening application, you are sure to gather useful information that can help you make the best decision when it comes to leasing out your residential property. When carrying out a tenant screening application, ensure that you ask the right questions and request the most relevant documents. 

As a property owner, you can hire a tenant screening company to help you carry out a tenant screening application and provide a report, thereafter. In addition, you can also conduct a tenant screening application online using Formplus. 

Formplus is a data-gathering platform that allows you to easily create and share online forms like tenant screening application forms. In the Formplus builder, you can add different form fields to your screening application form using the drag and drop feature. 

There are also different tenant screening application form templates available on Formplus including roommate agreement form and rental application form templates.

Sign up on Formplus to create your own tenant screening application form or edit any of the templates to suit your needs. 

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  • Formplus Blog
  • on 12 min read

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