The Rhode Island Rental Application Process
The rental application collects personal information from the prospective tenant, such as income, criminal history, rental history, and employment history. Rhode Island landlords must ensure their rental applications conform to federal fair housing laws and state laws to promote fairness. Generally, these applications come with a non-refundable fee that the applicant must pay. These fees range between $25 and $75.
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A Sample Rhode Island Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
A Rhode Island rental application form is a tool used to screen potential tenants before entering into a residential lease with them.
Before creating the rental application form, decide whether you'll allow married couples or couples who are part of a civil union to use the same application or require each person to use a separate one. If you'll allow the couple to complete a single application, ensure that you leave enough room in each section to capture the information from each applicant.
The rental application form should include the following sections:
- A section to collect the applicant's personal information: their full legal name, their birthday, their social security number, their cell phone number, their work number, their email address, and their emergency contact information.
- A section for the applicant's previous rental history. Start with their current full address (including the city, state, and zip code), how long they've lived there, the monthly rent amount, and the name and phone number of the current landlord. Then, include blank spaces to gather previous rental history: full addresses, the amount of time lived at each address, the amount of rent paid each month, and the contact information for each previous landlord.
- A section for the applicant's employment history, starting with their current employer. Include the employer's name, the full address (including their city, state, and zip code), the applicant's job title, the length of time the applicant has worked for the employer, the name of their supervisor, and the phone number for the supervisor or human resources. Include blank spaces to gather previous employment history as well.
- Ask the applicant to disclose every income source they have, the type of income source (such as a paycheck or disability check), the amount of each source, and how often each source is received. Request the applicant to list every checking and savings account they have and which bank or credit union manages the account.
- A section to capture the number of vehicles the applicant owns and a description of each vehicle. The vehicle description should include the year, make, model, color, and license plate number. Vehicle information can be helpful if you issue parking permits or if the rental property has limited parking.
- Request the name and age of every person who will live in the rental unit with the applicant.
- Request information about the applicant's pets. Ask how many pets the applicant has, the type of pets, and their size.
- An authorization to run the credit check and background check after the applicant signs the application form. It is also a good idea to remind the applicant that the fee paid is non-refundable.
- A signature line and a blank space for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Rhode Island
If you're a renter in Rhode Island, you are part of a legally binding contract known as a lease agreement or a rental agreement. As a renter, it can feel like you don't have any legal rights. You do have rights. Here are some helpful links to help you better understand your rights as a renter:
Rhode Island Rental Application Laws
Rhode Island caps security deposits at the equivalent of one month’s rent. Once a tenant moves out of the property, the landlord has 21 days to return the deposit (R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-18-19).