The New Jersey Rental Application Process
A rental application reveals an applicant’s rental history, income, and other details that may further qualify them or disqualify them from renting the apartment. It collects sensitive information that may be used as a tenant screening tool by allowing New Jersey landlords or property managers to complete a credit check and a background check on the potential tenant.
For applicants, a rental application protects them from discrimination by requiring it to conform to federal fair housing laws and comply with New Jersey landlord-tenant laws.
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A Sample New Jersey Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
A New Jersey rental application form is a tenant screening tool used by landlords, property managers, and even realtors who are showing rental properties. Before you write your application form, consider whether you want to allow married couples and couples in civil unions to apply on the same form or if they need to use separate ones. If you decide to allow them to both apply on the same form, make sure that your application form has room for both parties to give the required information.
- The first section of the rental application captures the applicant's personal information: their full legal name, birthday, cell phone number, work phone number, and email address. You also need a blank space for their social security number so you can run a background check and credit check.
- The second section captures information about the applicant's rental history. Begin with their most recent address (including their city, state, and zip code), contact information for the landlord or property manager, how long the applicant has lived in the rental unit, and the amount of monthly rent paid. Leave space for the applicant to list previous rental history as well.
- The third section captures information about the applicant's employment history. It should start with the applicant's current employer. Include the employer's name, address, the applicant's job title, how long the applicant has worked for the employer, the name of the applicant's supervisor, and the phone number for the supervisor or HR to verify their employment. Leave space for the applicant to list additional employment history.
- Ask about the applicant's income sources, how often the applicant receives income (weekly, biweekly, or monthly), and the amount. Ask whether the applicant has checking or savings accounts and which banks or credit unions manage those accounts.
- The fourth section requests the number of vehicles owned by the applicant and details about each vehicle. The description should include the year, make, and model. You can also ask for information such as the color and the license plate number. If your rental property uses parking permits or has limited parking, knowing which vehicles the applicant owns is essential.
- Request the applicant's emergency contact information.
- Obtain the name and age of each person who will reside in the rental unit with the applicant.
- Next, ask if the applicant owns any pets, how many, the type, and their size.
- At the end of the application, you should create an authorization that complies with New Jersey law. It should state that, by signing the form, the applicant agrees to you performing a credit check and a background check. It should also indicate whether the application fee paid is non-refundable.
- Use a signature line for the applicant's signature and a blank space for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in New Jersey
If you're a New Jersey renter, you're a party in a legally binding contract: a rental agreement. It may feel like the landlord or property manager has all the power, but as a tenant, you do have rights. Here are some helpful links:
- Legal Services of New Jersey offers a web page that explains landlord-tenant information, including information about evictions, leases, rent increases, security deposits, how to request repairs, and habitability.
- Legal Services of New Jersey also offers a free PDF document known as Tenants' Rights in New Jersey A Legal Manual for Tenants in New Jersey. It explains how you can find the law, how you can find a place to rent, how to inspect the property, information about security deposits, information about lease agreements, your rights as a tenant to safe housing, and more.
- The State of New Jersey has a rental assistance program for low-income households. They also have an eviction prevention program for qualifying households.
New Jersey Rental Application Laws
New Jersey’s security deposit laws state that a security deposit may not be more than one and one-half (1.5x) month’s rent. If the tenant has pets, the security deposit may not increase more than 10% than the standard security deposit amount. Once the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit within 30 days. However, if the tenant must vacate the property due to a disaster like a fire, condemnation, or flooding, the landlord must return the deposit within five (5) days according to New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. §46:8-19).