The Virginia Rental Application Process
Rental applications collect information on a person's income, previous addresses, criminal history, SSN, and other information that helps the landlord decide which potential tenant is the best choice. Rental applications must conform to federal fair housing laws and Virginia landlord-tenant laws to ensure that every applicant is not discriminated against when searching for housing.
Generally, applicants must pay a non-refundable processing fee that the landlord uses to run a background check, including criminal history, and credit check, including the applicant’s credit score.
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A Sample Virginia Rental Application with Examples for Each Step
A Virginia rental application form should collect enough information from the applicant that you're able to complete the background check and credit check to know whether the prospective tenant is a good risk.
Your rental application should include:
- A section to gather the applicant's personal information. Include their full legal name, date of birth, social security number, cell phone number, work phone number, email address, and emergency contact information.
- A section for the applicant's rental history. This section starts with the applicant's current address (including the city, state, and zip code), how long they've lived in the current rental, and monthly rent. The name and contact information of the landlord should also be requested. Include additional space for previous rental history and the name and contact information for previous landlords.
- A section for the applicant's employment history. This section starts with the applicant's current employer: 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 either the supervisor or for the human resources department. Include additional space for previous employment history.
- Next, request the applicant to list every current income source, the type of income, the amount received from each source, and how often payments are received. Then, request the applicant to list each checking or savings account they have and which bank or credit union manages each account.
- A section for the applicant to list how many vehicles they own and a description of each vehicle. The vehicle description should include the year, make, model, color, and license plate number. This information is beneficial when a rental property has limited parking available or requires parking passes.
- Request the name and age of each person who will live with the applicant on the rental property.
- Ask whether the applicant has any pets, the number of pets, the type, and the size.
Authorization for the background check and credit check. The applicant must sign the rental application before these checks can be performed. This section is also an ideal place to remind the applicant that the processing fee is nonrefundable.
- A signature line for the applicant and a space for the date.
Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Virginia
As a renter in Virginia, you are involved in a legally binding contract: a rental agreement. Many renters feel as if they have no rights or fewer rights than the landlord. Yet, Virginia law does provide rights to renters. Here are some helpful links:
Virginia Rental Application Laws
According to Virginia law, a security deposit may not exceed the equivalent of two months’ rent. Landlords have to pay interest on the security deposit each year and return the deposit within 45 days of the tenant moving out of the rental property.
Virginia Code Annotated § 55-248.15:1