The Missouri Rental Application Process
A rental application is vital for landlords because it acts as a tenant screening tool and enlightens a Missouri landlord on the potential renter's financial status before determining whether they should enter into a rental agreement. Landlords also use them to gain the authorization of the prospective tenant to run a background check.
Although the tenant has to provide sensitive and revealing information on a rental application, the document helps to protect them because a rental application must conform to federal fair housing laws and Missouri landlord-tenant laws that protect applicants from discrimination. For each application submitted, an applicant should expect to pay around $25 to $75 as a non-refundable fee; however, the fee can be more.
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A Sample Missouri Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
To create your own Missouri rental application, you will create specific sections that rely on blank spaces that the applicant will complete. Then, you'll end by creating an authorization that complies with Missouri state law that will enable you to run a credit check, a background check, and that allows you to inquire about the applicant's criminal history. The sections should include:
- Blank spaces for personal information: the applicant's full, legal name, and date of birth. Missouri landlords should also determine if they will allow married couples or partners in a civil union to apply on the same application or if they need to use separate forms.
- Blank spaces for a cell phone number, work phone, and email address.
- A space for the applicant's social security number.
- In the rental history section, you will need to capture the potential renter's current address (including the city, state, and zip code) and their current landlord's contact information, how long they've lived at the address, and the amount of rent they pay. You should include enough space to collect several years' worth of rental history in case the applicant has lived in more than one location.
- In the employment history section, you will need blank spaces to capture information about their employment. Start with their current employer. The collected information should include the employer’s name, the address, the name of their supervisor, the applicant's job title, how long they've worked for the employer, and a phone number that allows you to either verify this information through HR or their supervisor. Leave plenty of room for more than one employer.
- Next, include blank sections to collect information about the applicant's sources of income.
- Ask whether the applicant has checking or savings accounts and which financial institutions manage those accounts. Leave blank spaces large enough to answer.
- Ask the applicant how many vehicles they own and for the make, model, year, and a brief description of each vehicle. Use blank spaces so that the applicant may answer. Vehicle information is important if the rental property relies on parking passes or has limited parking.
- Ask the applicant to list emergency contact information.
- Create a section asking the potential renter if they have pets, how many, the type, and the size.
- Ask for the names and ages of each person who will live in the rental unit with the tenant.
- Use blank spaces after the authorization to gather the applicant's signature and the date of signing.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Missouri
As a tenant involved in a residential lease agreement, you're engaged in a legally binding contract. However, you do have rights. Many Missouri tenants think that landlords hold all the power and that there's nothing they can do. If you need help understanding landlord-tenant law or if you're in a situation where you believe that you need legal advice, the following may be very helpful for you:
- The Attorney General's website offers a free PDF download of Missouri's Landlord-Tenant Law The Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords & Tenants. You'll learn valuable information about security deposits, repairs, evictions, and discrimination.
- Legal Aid of Western Oklahoma provides a self-help page on its website for tenants who need information. Some of the topics include rent, possession of the property, legal forms, and how to file a small claims petition to get your security deposit back. They also offer a legal help clinic.
- The St. Louis Circuit Court provides a PDF guide entitled You and Your Landlord A St. Louis Area Guide to Tenant Responsibilities and Rights.
- The Missouri Courts website keeps a list of pro bono programs in Missouri, some of which assist tenants who need assistance.
Missouri Rental Application Laws
The State of Missouri has no laws that limit the amount that a landlord can request a security deposit for rental real estate. State law does require landlords to repay the tenant’s deposit within three weeks of moving out of the premises and pay the tenant 1% simple interest on their deposit every year they reside in the rental (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.175, 504B.178, 504B.195).