In Washington, D.C., a property manager may use a rental application to screen prospective tenants before approving a lease. Under D.C. law, landlords cannot require candidates to reveal past criminal records. Before acknowledging a rental application, a property manager should explain the criteria for a successful application.
Application Fee (§ 59.18.257(1)(b)) - A landlord may charge an application fee to cover screening costs.
Initial Deposit restrictions (§ 59.18.280) - There are no limits placed on the sum that a landlord can charge for the security deposit. With that being said, it’s customary to charge one or two months' rent.
Non-refundable fee. The total cost should be listed and attached to this application to cover the landlord's costs for the investigation. Regardless of the application's outcome, this fee is non-refundable.
Gross income must be at least three times the market rate, and it must be checked extensively. In most circumstances, pay stubs and a formal work reference are used to verify income. For self-employed candidates, records of bank statements and a previous year's tax return demonstrating required income levels are required. Applicants who receive social security or other government assistance must show proof of eligibility, such as a statement of benefits or bank records proving their income.
The applicant must provide information about their current and former landlords, as well as have a minimum of two years of verifiable rental history. A verified rental history of at least 24 months is required, during which all lease terms must have been met properly. Applicants with a positive landlord reference but who have had late or bounced payments may be given a larger deposit.
A criminal background check may be conducted on all occupants who are 18 years of age or older. Aim for a clean record for the past seven years. That is, no convictions for offenses including the manufacture or distribution of illegal substances or physical aggression against people.
Records are necessary to ensure the landlord's and the community's safety. Pay special attention to any convictions for crimes such as violent crimes or drug distribution.
This is a unique feature to look for because it indicates how well a tenant will pay their rent on time and how dedicated and considerate they will be to their landlord and the property they are renting. This portion of the application form should include complete details about the applicant's current and former jobs. It can also include information about the employer.
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