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What is a Tenant Verification Form? 7 Key Elements

When you select the right tenant for your vacancy, you can start collecting rent checks, bringing in additional income, and covering the costs of owning the property. When you select the wrong tenant, however, you may deal with headaches from damages to evictions. But how can leasing managers tell the good from the bad? 

Simple: Tenant screening. 

But how can you tell whether the information provided on your tenants’ application forms is accurate? By using a tenant verification form.

You know you need to screen tenants to ensure you bring in high-quality renters who will treat your property well, pay rent on time, and be a safe and productive member of your rental community. And to screen tenants accurately, you need a reliable method to verify the provided information.

This post covers all the basics about building a tenant verification form. We’ll talk about what it is, how to make one, and what fields you need to include. 

What is a Tenant Verification Form? 

Let’s begin with some basic information about tenant verification forms. A tenant verification form is crucial for any landlord or property manager. This form is a standardized document used during tenant screening to collect and confirm vital information about prospective renters. 

Related Read: Lease Administration Software for Property Managers: 6 Best Solutions

Your tenant verification form is vital to your tenant screening process for several key reasons: 

  • Risk Mitigation: Tenant verification forms help landlords assess the risk associated with potential tenants. Gathering detailed information about applicants and taking steps to confirm or verify those details upfront instead of relying on slow, traditional leasing processes minimizes your chances of renting to high-risk individuals.
  • Legal Compliance: The importance of complying with fair housing laws and tenant screening regulations cannot be overstated. A well-structured tenant verification form ensures you're on the right side of the law, avoiding costly legal troubles.
  • Informed Decision-Making: These forms confirm crucial insights into an applicant's financial stability, rental history, and character. With this information, you can make more informed decisions about who you entrust your property to.
  • Documentation: Beyond aiding decision-making, tenant verification forms serve as legal records of the tenant application process. This documentation can prove invaluable in case of disputes or legal issues, helping to resolve conflicts swiftly and fairly.
  • Consent and Authorization: Tenant verification forms also obtain the applicant's consent to conduct background checks. This ensures compliance with privacy laws and protects landlords from liability by proving that the tenant agreed to having their information verified in the tenant screening process.

In a nutshell, a tenant verification form is a powerful tool that helps you improve your application screening process, abide by legal requirements, and safeguard your properties from poor-fit renters. With this baseline information in mind, let’s dive into the critical elements of a strong tenant verification form. 

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1. Applicant Information 

The first section you should include on your tenant verification form is the applicant information section. Collect the following information in this section:

  • Full name of the applicant: Request their first name, middle name (if applicable), and last name. Ensure the provided name matches their identification documents.
  • Date of birth: This helps verify their age, ensuring they meet your rental criteria.
  • Social Security number or other identification details: Request their Social Security number or further details like a driver's license or passport number. This information is essential for conducting background checks and verifying the applicant's identity.
  • Contact information: Obtain the applicant's phone number and email address. This information is critical to communicate with them throughout the application process.
  • Current and previous addresses: Request the complete street address, including the city, state, and ZIP code. Collecting addresses from the last several years is typically recommended to understand their housing history. This information helps you confirm their stability and assess their rental history.

Related Read: Improve Your Rental Application Approval Process with These 8 Tips

How To Verify This Information

Collect identification like a driver's license and social security card to verify your applicant’s name, date of birth, address, and more. You can also require applicants to verify their email or phone through messaging verification practices.   

2. Employment and Income Details 

Next, you should collect employment and income information from your applicant. These details help determine their ability to pay rent consistently and on time and ensure a strong renter match. Gather the following information in this section:

  • Current employer's name, address, and contact information: This information allows you to verify their employment status and contact their employer for employment verification.
  • Job title and length of employment: Understanding their job role and how long they've been with their current employer helps gauge their employment stability.
  • Monthly or annual income: Knowing their income helps determine whether they can comfortably afford the rent.
  • Any additional sources of income: Applicants may have other income streams, such as investments, side businesses, or alimony. Gathering this information provides a more complete picture of their financial situation.
  • Permission to contact the employer for verification: Obtaining consent to contact the employer is crucial for confirming the accuracy of the employment information provided by the applicant. Always obtain their written permission to avoid legal issues.

How To Verify This Information

Using the information gathered from your applicant, reach out to their employer of record and confirm their dates of employment and other information. You can also employ the help of a background check or tenant screening service to verify this information on your behalf. 

3. Rental History 

Your applicants’ rental history gives you valuable insights into how they behave as a tenant. When asking for rental history details, request the following information: 

  • Landlord or property management company contact information: Request contact details for their previous landlords or property managers. Collecting this information allows you to obtain references and inquire about their past tenancies.
  • Dates of occupancy: Knowing how long your applicant stayed at each rental property gives you an idea of their stability as a tenant.
  • Reason for leaving previous rentals: Ask why they left their previous rentals. This information can reveal important information about potential issues or concerns.
  • Rental payment history, including late payments or evictions: Inquire about their payment history, including any late payments or eviction history. This information is essential for assessing their reliability as a renter.

How To Verify This Information

Using the contact information provided, verify the information provided by your applicant. Check occupancy dates, payment history, and any record of evictions in the tenant’s background. You may also use a background check or tenant screening service to conduct this verification on your behalf. 

4. Financial Information 

Aside from employment and income, you’ll want a clear picture of your applicants’ overall financial health. This data can help you understand their ability to meet their obligations as a tenant. Here’s what you’ll want to know: 

  • Credit references and credit history: Inquire about credit references and run a check on the applicant’s credit history. This information is crucial for evaluating their creditworthiness and potential risk as a tenant.
  • Outstanding debts or financial obligations: Ask about any existing debts, financial obligations, or outstanding loans. Understanding their financial responsibilities is key to assessing their ability to meet rental payments.
  • Consent for a credit check or access to a credit report: Always obtain written consent from the applicant to run a credit check or access their credit report. This ensures you conduct these checks legally and with the applicant's knowledge and permission.
  • Bank account details (optional): While optional, bank account information can provide a snapshot of an applicant’s overall financial stability and ability to cover rent and other expenses.

How To Verify This Information

You must conduct a credit check through a qualified reporting agency like TransUnion to verify your applicant’s financial information. Additionally, you can call the applicant’s credit references or review their bank records for additional information if you feel the credit verification doesn’t provide enough information for you to make an informed decision.

5. References 

References provide a well-rounded view of the applicant's character and reputation. Consider collecting the following information:

  • Personal references: Gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of individuals who know the applicant well and can vouch for their character and reliability.
  • Character references: Seek references from non-family members who can provide insights into the applicant's character, reliability, and suitability as a tenant.
  • Emergency contact information: In case of emergencies or the need to reach someone quickly, gather contact details for an emergency contact person.

How To Verify This Information

References are a very manual verification process. At this stage, you must call the references provided and verify their statements about your applicant against the information provided on the applicant’s verification form. 

6. Authorization and Consent 

You’ll need to run background checks and other processes during tenant screening. As a result, you must obtain the appropriate authorization and consent from your applicants. To obtain consent for your tenant screening process, include a section in your form asking for the following: 

  • A statement granting permission to perform background checks: Request the applicant's written authorization to conduct background checks, including credit, criminal, and eviction history.
  • Consent to contact employers, landlords, and references: Confirm in writing that the applicant consents to your contacting their employer, previous landlords, and references as part of the screening process.
  • Acknowledgment of the applicant's rights under relevant laws: Provide information about the applicant's rights under applicable laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Including this information ensures that the applicant knows their rights, which helps protect you from legal issues.

7. Additional Information 

Finally, every rental property and property management business is unique. You may need to request information or details not yet listed in this article. Depending on your property and circumstances, you may need to request some or all of the following: 

  • Information about pets, vehicles, and other occupants: Inquire about pets, the number of cars, and other occupants residing in the rental property. This information is essential for assessing compatibility with your rental policies.
  • Any special requirements or preferences: Allow applicants to note any special requirements or preferences they have for the rental property.
  • Criminal history disclosure, if applicable: Depending on your criteria, you may want to ask about an applicant's criminal history. Be sure to comply with applicable laws when asking these questions.
  • Signature and date to confirm the accuracy of the information provided: Finally, have the applicant sign and date the form, affirming that the information they've provided is accurate and complete. This signature serves as their commitment to the accuracy of their application.

How To Verify This Information

You can verify the accuracy of pet information by asking for photographs of all pets that will be living in the property. Your applicants’ disclosed criminal history will be verified against the criminal background check every landlord should run as part of their tenant screening process. 

Using an Online Tenant Verification Form 

Your tenant verification form is essential to the success and accuracy of your tenant screening and application process. However, if you really want to improve your operations, you’ll think beyond the paper form and explore online tenant verifications.

Intellirent offers a fully customizable online application. You can build your ideal tenant verification form into our portal, send it off to your applicants with a single click, then receive all the information and documentation back in the form of a standardized Renter Resume.

Check out our product tour today to see how our online tenant verification system can make your property management life easier.

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