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Montana Rental Application: What Is It?

A Montana rental application form is a document that residential landlords and property managers use as a tenant screening tool before entering into a rental lease agreement with a prospective tenant.

Rental applications request personal, yet necessary information for decision-makers such as landlords or property managers to see in-depth financial information and rental history to determine the ideal candidate for the rental property. Decision-makers may use this information to complete a credit check, a background check, or a criminal history check with proper authorization.

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The Montana Rental Application Process

A rental application collects information from all applicants in a uniform and organized manner that conforms with federal fair housing and anti-discrimination laws and Montana landlord-tenant laws to protect applicants. These are documents that must conform to federal laws and work to protect applicants and landlords. Landlords generally charge a non-refundable fee per applicant to process these applications. Usually, the fee is less than $100.

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A Sample Montana Rental Application with Examples for Each Step

Creating a Montana rental application is an essential process that landlords and property managers should not skip. The document must comply with both federal fair housing laws as well as state landlord-tenant laws. It is crucial to get accurate information from the applicant so that you can perform the necessary credit check, background check, and criminal history check before you make a decision. When writing a rental application form to use, include the following sections:

  • Collect the personal information of the prospective tenant: their full legal name and their date of birth. Decide whether you want married couples or couples in a civil union to complete separate applications or if they may apply using the same application. If they may use the same application, ensure that you have enough space for both applicants.
  • Include fields to collect the applicant's cell phone number, work number, and email address. 
  • Obtain the social security number of the applicant. You will need this to perform a credit check.
  • Create a section for rental history. Starting with the most current location, the applicant should list their current rental address (including the city, state, and zip code), the contact information for the current landlord, how long they've lived at the property, and the amount of rent paid each month. Leave enough space for multiple rental properties since the applicant may be someone who moves regularly.
  • Create a section for employment history. Start with their most current employer. The applicant should list their current employer, the employer's address, how long they've worked for the employer, their job title, the name of their supervisor, and a contact number for either Human Resources or for their supervisor so that you can verify their employment. Leave enough space for the applicant to list more than one employer.
  • Create a section to collect information regarding the applicant's income sources. Capture the source of the income, such as their job or disability payments; the amount they receive; and frequency of payments, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
  • Ask whether the applicant has any checking or savings accounts and which banks or credit unions hold them.
  • Create a section that collects information about the number of cars the applicant owns. This section should also collect descriptive details such as the make, model, year, and description. If your rental property has limited parking or parking passes, this part of the rental application is crucial.
  • Ensure that you collect emergency contact information for the applicant.
  • Collect the name and age of each person who would reside in the residential rental unit with the applicant.
  • Create a section that asks the applicant if they have any pets and how many, the type, and their size.
  • The last section should be an authorization that enables you to run the credit check and background check once the applicant signs and dates the rental application form.
  • Finally, include a space to give the applicant room to sign and date the application.

Rental Application Resources for Renters in Montana

As a Montana renter who is a party to a rental agreement, it may feel like the landlord has all the rights. Here are some valuable tips and websites for Montana renters:

  • The Montana Legal Services Association website provides Montana renters with a clear explanation of housing rights.
  • The Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection explains landlord-tenant law and your rights and responsibilities related to rental agreements (including illegal provisions), security deposits, the responsibilities of your landlord, your responsibilities as the tenant, how to request repairs, your options if the conditions of the rental affect your health and safety, when the landlord can enter your rental property, and illegal actions by a landlord.  
  • Montana Home Choice Coalition's website provides fair housing rights and resources and has an email address for a tenant-landlord hotline. You can also learn about fair market rents.
  • Montana Legal Aid provides access to a free landlord-tenant guide in PDF format. They also offer a list of upcoming free legal advice clinics throughout the state, but you must apply to attend.

Montana Rental Application Laws

The State of Montana does not limit the amount of security deposits; however, the state sets time limits that landlords must follow when it comes to returning a security deposit to a tenant. According to state law, a landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days. If there are no deductions or fees taken out from the deposit, it is due back to the tenant no later than ten days after they move out of the rental unit.

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