Applicants seeking to lease a property in Washington are required to complete a Washington rental/lease application document. With signed permission, the landlord may investigate and verify the applicant's employment history, rental history, and other background checks as stipulated in the application. A clearer picture will be gained of the applicant's reliability on the rental property based on these aspects.
Application Fee (§ 59.18.257(1)(b)) - Landlords might charge an application expense just for costs attributed to acquiring screening reports.
Initial Deposit (§ 59.18.280) - There is no restriction in state rules in regard to the sum to be charged for the initial deposit.
Components of a rental application
To account for the cost of the landlord's investigation, document the entire cost and submit it with this application. This money is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of the application.
You may want to look at the applicant’s rental history to determine how many places they’ve stayed, if they’ve been moving up into better housing each time, and other factors you find pertinent.
Landlords may have varied credit score requirements for rental applicants, although many do. They may also check an applicant’s credit report for previous bankruptcies, late payments, and other unfavorable information. The credit report also contains information on the applicant’s monthly debt load, which is useful if it interferes with their capacity to pay rent on time.
After asking for permission in the rental application, landlords can examine income and employment in a variety of ways. They may contact the applicant’s company directly or ask them to provide proof of income in the form of pay stubs, tax forms, or bank account statements. Applicants can be denied regardless of other criteria if it's evident from their income information that they can't afford the unit they’re applying for.
It's a significant red flag for landlords if an applicant has a history of evictions or lease violations. Nobody wants to rent to a tenant who will break the lease or be evicted for not paying rent, causing damage, or engaging in unlawful behavior. Making sure the tenant has no previous evictions or lease breaches is a smart place to start when looking for a good tenant. You may want to start looking at other applications if they have previous evictions or lease violations.
Finally, it's a good sign if a tenant can provide you with at least one to three reliable references. Take the time to inquire about their tenancy with their former or current landlord.
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