In this day and age, it may seem like most properties are owned by big, foreign property management companies. But that’s not the case. Most landlords are just like you
, one person who owns a unit or two.
The most stressful part of any landlord’s job is finding new, good tenants. Once you get the right ones, you want to make sure they stay for as long as possible. That’s why it’s important to get the rental application just right.
In this guide, we’ll try to make the process as simple as possible. Keep reading for everything you need in the application for an apartment rental.
The Most Important Part of the Rental Application: Identification
It goes without saying that you want to know who is living in your San Francisco apartment. You’ll need this information not only to establish who the tenant is, but for legal purposes later on down the line. However, in some cases, they may not have United States federal or state identification.
Be aware that there is no restriction against non-US citizens buying or renting property
. In this event, there are other types of documentation that will suffice. For example, a nonresident alien income tax return or a 1040-NR.
Also, be aware that you cannot discriminate against someone based on their citizenship. This is thanks to the Fair Housing Act
. Deciding not to allow someone to rent must be for another legitimate reason.
If they have one, definitely obtain their Social Security number. This will be vital if you need to perform a background check later on.
Vehicle Registration and Related Insurance Proof
There’s a good chance that your tenant is going to be bringing their vehicle with them. You need to be aware of any vehicles they have, and if they plan to park them on your property during any time of the day or week.
This is because you likely already have limited parking spaces for each individual unit. You want to be able to keep close track of which vehicles are on your property at any given time. You can avoid accidentally towing your tenant’s vehicle if they left it there while out of town.
Rental History and References
Aside from background checks, the best way to establish bona fides is to see your potential tenant’s previous history. You will need to collect the full information of any previous property that your tenant has lived in. This includes details such as how much they paid, and how long they lived there.
References are perhaps even more important. These can come from both previous landlords and previous jobs. Get the contact information for these individuals and ask them if your potential tenant is a reliable, honest person.
Find out If They Have Any Pets
Being able to own pets in an apartment is perhaps one of the most popular amenities
out there. Not being able to have their pets is often a dealbreaker, so allowing them to have them on your property makes your rental highly competitive.
You should make it clear in the application form what the pet policy is. If they have any pets, they should disclose this information to you. That way you can keep track of any animals that might be on the property.
Of course, your San Francisco rental application can forbid certain types of pets and breeds. You may be okay with dogs and cats, but would not like mice or snakes on your property. Make sure this policy is very clear and that the tenant understands it.
Pay Stubs and Bank Statements
It’s all well and good if your tenant is responsible and takes care of the home. But if they can’t afford to pay their rent on time, that’s going to ruin the profitability of your property.
The best way to establish someone’s financial standing is with their pay stubs and bank statements. As a general rule, most landlords would hope to find a tenant income of which 30% (or less) is enough to cover the rent. Taking the two or three most recent pay stubs should be enough to establish this.
Bank statements can give you more in-depth information. You can see if your tenants are able to make rent on top of their other financial obligations.
Do keep in mind that some tenants may be contractors or gig workers. These may be freelance artists or Uber taxi drivers. These types of workers may have a less steady income, requiring you to ask for tax returns to prove their economic stability.
Any Fees for Processing the Rental Application (Including Security Deposit)
Most landlords charge some sort of fee when applying for an apartment. This allows you to take your unit off the market and make sure the lease signing goes well.
Your application fee is up to you. Most landlords only charge to cover the cost of a background check and any other clerical work. You may charge an additional processing fee to cover your time dealing with documents and finalizing the application.
You should also establish what the security deposit is. This is your financial security against any damages or failure to pay rent. Be firm and clear under which conditions they may forfeit their security deposits.
Also, give the tenants payment options for paying their application fee and any future rent. Make yourself competitive by giving them plentiful payment options, especially those that don’t require fees.
Be generous and allow them options that account for different financial situations. If your tenant needs to pay in cash, for example, then give them an avenue to do so.
Maximize Your Property with Ray Amouzandeh AKA Ray Realtor
The rental application is the most important part of finalizing a new occupant’s tenancy. You will need to gather all the proper documents and information to ensure the process goes smoothly. Keep the above in mind whether this is a short-term residential rental or not.
Ray Realtor is your go-to source for leasing agents and leasing brokers in the San Francisco area. Contact Ray here
and get more information on how we can help you.