An Alabama rental/lease application permits a landowner or property manager to obtain a tenant's details and employment history, along with a credit check. In such cases, a non-refundable fee may be required, which is usually the same as the landlord's screening costs.
Stage 1 - A prospective tenant fills out the rental application form
Typically, a rental application is filled out after the tenant has inspected the premises and verbally agreed to rent it. The lease comes with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Disclosure that outlines the rights of the tenant.
When this lease application form has been finished by the tenant it ought to be submitted back to the landowner alongside the amount charged for the background check.
Stage 2 - Process a credit check report
Most landlords and property managers generally accept a credit score of above 620. Several companies offering this service provide landlords with access to tenants' criminal records and credit reports. It will depend if the landlord received a duly filled and signed credit report form from the prospective tenant to choose a service.
Stage 3 - Confirm the prospective occupant’s employment status
The landowner will have to confirm the job status and pay of the occupant to guarantee the occupant can bear the cost of the monthly lease.
Stage 4 - Communicate with former landlords
Did the applicant ever miss a rent payment? If so, how many months did they miss?
Has the applicant ever been evicted or served a notice to quit? If yes, for what reason?
Was the tenant a noisy person?
Did the applicant leave the previous residence clean and in good condition when they moved out?
Did the applicant deal nicely with their neighbors?
Stage 5 - Confirm the sex offender registry record of the applicant
Stage 6 - Decide on whether to rent out or not based on your findings from the background check
In the United States, discrimination against the following protected classes is illegal under the Federal Fair Housing Act:
Parental Status (Having children or not)
Physical or mental disability
You cannot include any of these items on a rental application form (or use them as a basis for a decision).
In Alabama, no additional housing protections exist for classes of people not covered by the Federal Fair Housing Act.
There are some exemptions from the Fair Housing laws. Among them are:
If children will occupy the rented premises in a two-family owner-occupied building, it's acceptable to ask about this and make a decision based on this.
Landlords may ask for an applicant's age in case of an age-restricted community such as senior housing. The federal exemption for older persons, known as the "Housing for Older Persons" exemption, can be applied for 55+ or even 62+ communities that have met the requirements.
If the landlord is represented by a real estate agent, then a Mrs. Murphy Exemption applies to dwellings with four or fewer units with one unit occupied by the landlord. Moreover, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits the use of race as a determining factor.
It's possible to give preference to applicants for properties that are owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization that doesn't rent out its properties for commercial purposes based on religion.
If a club operates privately without public access or for commercial purposes, it may provide preferential treatment of lodging applications for its accommodations.
The federal government does not recognize race as an exemption factor that can influence whether a rental property will accept an applicant or not.
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