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Free Rhode Island Rental Application Form

If you are a landlord leasing residential property, you must file a Rhode Island Rental Application Form. This document is necessary to verify the credibility and eligibility of potential tenants.

Last Update September 12th, 2022

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What Is a Rhode Island Residential Rental Application

ARhode Island rental application is a legal document used by landlords and property managers to assess and choose an appropriate tenant for a rental property. They are sometimes known by other common names, such as:

  • Tenant applications 

  • Rental lease applications

  • Lease applications

  • Applications for a rental property

Having a rental application can prove highly important to make sure you get the right tenant into your property. The process of screening prospective residents in this way allows you to discover any issues such as their inability to pay rent or the likelihood to cause a nuisance before signing a contract.

Rhode Island Rental Applications by Type

You will need to choose the correct type of rental application template depending on the people you are renting to and your property’s designation. There are two options to choose from in Rhode Island, which can be seen below.

Standard/General Rental Application Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rental Application
Which landlords can use it? Private landlords Landlords with Section 8 housing
What kind of tenants is it designed for? Any Tenants eligible for subsidized housing

What to Include in a Rhode Island Rental Application Form

It is important to request the right data from a tenant when asking them to fill in an RI rental application and to make sure they are properly informed about the contract. This will be essential to make sure you get the right tenant into your property.

Almost all application forms for rental properties request information from the tenant,this usually includes their personal data, rental history, employment details, income information, credit history, personal references, and permission for background checks.

Additionally, landlords must provide vital disclosures to ensure that potential residents can safely use the property. They must provide details about:

  • The property’s condition

  • Potential hazards to the tenant

  • Shared utility arrangements

  • Rent control rules

  • Smoking policy

  • The security deposit

  • Associated fees

Rhode Island Rental Application Laws

There are a few laws that must be followed in RI when you create a rental application for tenants. Failure to comply with these rules could lead to serious legal consequences and allow the tenant to sue. 

Application Fee

You can charge as much as you wish as a rental application fee. There are no laws in Rhode Island providing a set limit, although it is recommended to only charge enough to cover the costs of any background checks. Any amount charged to the tenant is also non-refundable. 

Security Deposit

Landlords cannot charge more than 1 months’ rent if they are leasing an apartment under Rhode Island law (§ 34-18-19). 

Housing Discrimination Law

There are no set laws in Rhode Island that specifically limit housing discrimination. However, all states must adhere to the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA is a federal law that prevents landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their:

  • Race

  • Nationality

  • Religion

  • Sex

  • Familial status

  • Disability

  • Criminal history

As a consequence, you are not allowed to ask for any of these details on an RI Rental Application form, nor to include them in the decision-making process. However, in Rhode Island, certain exemptions from fair housing laws exist. These are as follows:

  • Housing for older persons: it is allowed to ask for an applicant’s age for age-restricted communities (such as senior housing).

  • Familial status: landlords may ask whether children will occupy the premises for two-family owner-occupied buildings.

  • Private clubs: clubs that do not operate publicly and do not rent for commercial purposes can give preference to certain applicants.

  • Religious organizations: religion can be used as a basis for giving priority to certain applicants for properties that are owned or managed by a religious organization that does not rent with commercial intent.

  • Mrs. Murphy exemption: dwellings with four units or fewer, in which one unit is occupied by the owner, and where the landlord is not represented by a real estate agent, are exempt from fair housing requirements.

Notice of Eligibility

Tenants must be told about any specific screening criteria, as well as the reasons that they could be denied or approved by the landlord. To show that this information has been shared, a signature of acknowledgment from the tenant is required.

Consent Credit Check

Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), tenants being screened in Rhode Island must consent to any credit checks you wish to carry out. To make sure you comply with the law, the applicant must provide written acknowledgment of the screening on the application form.

Rhode Island Rental Application Sample

It’s sensible to look over the template of anRI rental application before starting your own. This can help to give you a better idea of what your final form will look like and the kind of information you’ll need to add to it.

FAQs About Rhode Island Rental Application Form

Having a good idea of what you can and cannot useanRI rental application for is important. In our FAQs below, we explain what is and isn’t allowed when you create your own form.

What Is The Screening Process in Rhode Island?

When you wish to rent out your property to a tenant, you can use anRI rental application to check the potential resident before they move in. This allows you to get important background information from the applicant.

In RI you might use a rental application to find out any of the following about a prospective tenant:

  • Whether they can afford rent or not

  • If they have a positive or negative rental history

  • If they are employed

  • Their credit history

  • Whether they have committed any crimes or felonies

What Are Credit References on a Rhode Island Rental Application?

A credit reference is a document that provides information on the credit history of an applicant for a rental property. This may be requested on Rhode Island rental applications so that landlords can properly assess whether a potential tenant will be able to meet the rental payment schedule.

Do I Need to Ask for a Social Security Number in a Rhode Island Rental Application?

It is not usually necessary to request a Social Security number (SSN) on aRhode Island rental application. However, you may consider requesting this data from an applicant if you want to run certain background checks on them.

Additionally, you must always get written permission from the tenant on the application form if you want to use their SSN. When you handle someone else’s Social Security information you always need consent first and must disclose that you will properly handle this data. 

These days, most screening companies can obtain the applicant’s SSN directly by requesting it securely from the applicant via email. Remember, however, that you must always inform the potential tenant and have their permission before you run any background checks.

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