The Oklahoma Rental Application Process
During the rental application process, the landlord or property manager collects personal information from the prospective tenant to determine if they are a good risk. Decision-makers use this information to perform a background check (including a criminal history background check) and a credit check. The applicant information requested includes employment history, rental history, and income source information.
The background check and credit check process will determine if the potential tenant has a history of evictions or bankruptcies. Since screening every applicant is often tedious and comes at a cost to the landlord, there is usually a nonrefundable processing fee. These fees can range between $25-75 per application form.
Most landlords will require that each potential tenant who will become a party to the lease complete an application form before they are eligible to be placed on a residential lease agreement.
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A Sample Oklahoma Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
An Oklahoma rental application form is an essential tool for property owners because it allows for tenant screening. Tenant screening enables you to ascertain whether a potential tenant is a good risk as a renter.
When creating your rental application form, consider whether you'll allow married couples or couples who are part of a civil union to apply on the same application form or use separate ones. If you decide that both applicants may list their information in the same form, make sure that you leave enough room for both to answer.
To create your rental application form, use the following sections:
- A section to collect personal information for the applicant. Their full legal name, date of birth, social security number, cell phone number, work number, email address, and emergency contact information.
- A section to collect rental history, starting with their current rental property address. Include the city, state, and zip code. You should also ask for the name and contact information of their current landlord, the amount of time they've lived on the property, and the monthly rent they pay. Include space to gather information about the previous rental history and previous landlord contact information.
- A section to collect employment history, starting with their current employer name, address (including the city, state, and zip code), the prospective tenant's job title, the length of time they've worked for the employer, the name of their supervisor, and the phone number for either their supervisor or for HR. Include additional space to gather employment history from a previous employer.
- Request all of the applicant's income sources, frequency of payments, amount of payments, and source (such as a paycheck or a disability check). This section should also ask if the applicant has any checking accounts or savings accounts and which financial institutions manage those accounts.
- Collect information about the applicant's vehicles. Ask the number of vehicles owned by the applicant and a description of each. Include each vehicle’s year, the make, model, color, and license plate number. If you're the landlord or property manager of rental property that relies on parking passes or has limited parking, knowing which vehicles belong to the renters is very beneficial.
- Collect the name and age of each person who will live on the rental property with the tenant.
- Collect pet information such as whether the tenant has pets, how many, the type, and the size.
- An authorization that explains to the prospective tenant that they authorize you to complete a background check and a credit check when they sign the application. Include a reminder that the processing fee paid is nonrefundable.
- Include a signature line and a place for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Oklahoma
As a renter, you're a party to a rental lease agreement, a legally binding contract. Many renters feel like they have very little legal power and that the landlord or property manager has all of the power. As a renter, you do have legal rights. Here are some helpful online resources for renters in Oklahoma:
- The Oklahoma Bar website provides free information to tenants. The information includes what you're entitled to receive as a renter: a safe and livable rental property, electrical and plumbing (and other appliances provided by the landlord) in good working order, and reasonable heat. It also explains your choices as a renter if your landlord does not make reasonable repairs that would affect your health or your safety, who is responsible if your personal property is destroyed because of leaky pipes or a leaky roof, whether you're protected because of a flood, and whether your landlord can add more rules to a lease after you've signed it.
- Oklahoma Legal Aid's website provides free information to tenants, including what you can do to get your security deposit back, what happens if you're evicted for nonpayment of rent, how to get your landlord to make repairs, and whether your landlord can lock you out. They also assist low-income individuals and families involved in eviction and involved in landlord disputes.
- For qualified individuals, volunteer attorneys licensed in Oklahoma will answer specific legal questions about civil issues, including landlord-tenant problems.
- OU College of Law offers a civil law clinic that may offer landlord-tenant assistance to qualified individuals and families.
- Neighbor for Neighbor is a non-profit that provides legal services.
- Trinity Legal is a volunteer legal clinic with several locations.
- The University of Tulsa College of Law offers the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic, which assists qualified individuals and families with eviction proceedings.
Oklahoma Rental Application Laws
Oklahoma doesn’t have any state laws that dictate how much a landlord may request a security deposit. However, applicants are encouraged to check with their local city and county laws. Oklahoma does dictate that a landlord must return the tenant’s deposit within 45 days after moving out of the property. (Ok. Stat. Ann. Tit. 41, § 115).