What is a Tenancy Application Form?
It’s essentially a form which prospective tenants are asked to complete either before or during a viewing, but I personally recommend doing it before because it provides an early opportunity to dismiss unsuitable applicants.
Here is a list of details requested for in a tenancy application form:
- Tenancy details: number of applicants, proposed tenancy start date.
- Tenant’s personal details: tenant(s) name, contact details.
- Current Landlord: details of current landlord.
- Referee / Guarantor Details: details of Guarantor.
- Employment details: current and past employment details, and salary.
- Occupants: Details of all the people that will occupy the property.
- Other details: details such as smoking status, pet status.
Why are Tenancy Application Forms useful?
- If I have a vacant property which is receiving interest from several prospective tenants, I will have a neat list of all applicants with all their details. It makes it much easier to manage the applicants details.
- The completed forms make it much easier to determine which applicant is most desirable, which will effectively help me choose the better tenant. For example, I can easily see which applicant has a greater salary and stronger rental history.
- Some of the details on the Tenancy Application Form aren’t always found in Tenancy Agreements, but may be useful even after a tenancy has been created. For example, next of kin details maybe useful in case of an emergency.
- Assuming the application form is completed before scheduling a viewing, it can quickly eliminate tenants from the queue if they don’t meet specific requirements e.g. lack of Guarantor. This saves a buttload of time!
- You can build a directory of people to contact if a similar property becomes available. This is probably more useful for letting agents, or landlords with a portfolio of properties.
- You can use the tenant’s employment and current/previous landlords details for references, to ensure they’re legitimate and have a good track record.
Completing Application forms before viewings
Almost all experienced landlords require applicants to complete a tenancy application form before scheduling a viewing in order to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff, and they’ll usually do it in one of two ways:
- Conduct a phone interview with all applicants. I say “interview” for lack of a better word, but it’s usually just a friendly chat. You can then run through the relevant questions over the phone and fill in the application yourself.
This is probably the most telling method, as you can tell so much by how someone conducts themselves on the phone.
- Email each applicant the same tenancy application form, and get them to complete it.
Trust me, construct a screening process before you take viewings, and you’ll be surprised and overjoyed by how many idiots and unsuitable applicants you almost met.
In the past, some applicants have actually been disgruntled by the screening process, and it’s sent them running for the hills. That only means the pre-viewing screening process is working, because any reasonable person will understand and happily assist with answering the reasonable questions.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with meeting every applicant and getting them to complete the form during the viewings, and that will certainly help with the process of elimination. However, it will certainly mean you’ll be more prone to mingling with a whole heap of time-wasters/unsuitable applicants.
Are Tenancy Application Forms legally required?
I want to clarify that Tenancy Application Forms are NOT legally required, although they make sense because of the points listed above.
Can I modify the Tenancy Application Form?
The application form can be tailored to a landlord’s preference. Landlords are entitled to ask prospective tenants any appropriate question that they see fit. However, I would advise to avoid asking too many questions, sticking to questions which have a direct relation to letting the property, and personal questions that may seem “too personal” Crossing those lines could act as a repellent.
I’ve seen a few Tenancy Application Forms which require bank details from the applicant. I’m not entirely convinced details like that are necessary at such early stages, so I removed that section. I know if I was a prospective tenant, I wouldn’t want to give up my bank details to a private landlord if I wasn’t even sure I wanted the property. However, I’d be more comfortable giving a letting agent those kinds of details.
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