A Commercial Lease Application is a document a landlord uses to screen applicants for a commercial rental property. The occupants use commercial properties for income-generating activities rather than residential purposes.
What is a Commercial Lease Application?
A commercial lease application helps the landlord screen a business to see if it is a good fit for the property. Commercial lease applications also give insight into a business’ financials and rental history, which helps the landlord minimize risk.
The four main categories of commercial real estate are:
- Retail space (including shopping and restaurant retail space for rent)
- Industrial buildings
- Office rental
- Multi-family housing complexes
However, commercial properties can be nearly any building or land used for business-related functions.
When commercial property owners want to rent space in a commercial building, they typically have a potential tenant fill out a simple commercial lease application.
Other names for a commercial lease application include:
- Commercial property application
- Commercial tenant information form
- Commercial rental application
- Retail lease application
- Business rental application form
When Should You Use a Commercial Rental Application?
Commercial real estate owners should use a commercial rental application to rent space in their commercial properties.
Landlords of a commercial space include those who own:
- Strip malls
- High-rise buildings
- Shopping malls
- Retail kiosks
- Stand-alone commercial properties
- And many other types of real estate zoned for commercial use
A commercial property owner should screen all potential tenants before leasing space for any length of time.
Screening also helps landlords better understand the prospective tenant and the business (and its principals) and determine whether they will add value to a property.
Typical businesses that fill out commercial lease applications include:
- Retail businesses
- Childcare facilities
- Hotels, motels, and inns
- Accounting and law offices
- Service providers
- Auto-body repair shops
- Shipping companies
- Businesses with administrative functions
- Manufacturing companies
If you want to rent space in your commercial property and desire a tenant who will add value to your real estate business, screen all applicants with a commercial lease application.
Why Use a Commercial Lease Application?
Landlords need to determine if a tenant is a good business investment, which means they should collect pertinent information using a commercial lease application.
A commercial lease application provides much of the data a property owner needs to decide who to rent space to.
Using a retail lease application is a smart way to check a business’ creditworthiness and determine if a potential tenant will likely operate successfully in a space.
With a well-drafted commercial lease agreement, you can make an informed decision on your property’s occupancy.
How to Approve or Decline a Commercial Lease Agreement
A business rental application should give you the necessary information to screen the prospective tenant and determine risk.
These are the steps to take to screen a commercial rental applicant:
- Step 1 – Use our step-by-step builder to create a commercial real estate application
- Step 2 – Have the applicant fill out, sign, and date the form
- Step 3 – Collect a commercial lease application fee (if applicable)
- Step 3 – Review the prospective tenant’s information
- Step 4 – Verify the business with the appropriate Secretary of State (see table below for resources)
- Step 5 – Obtain the business’ credit score and the company owner’s or principal’s credit score (if applicable)
- Step 6 – Perform background checks on the business owners or principals
- Step 7 – Contact the applicant’s references
- Step 8 – Review the company’s financial statements
- Step 9 – Review any guarantor’s information
- Step 10 – Approve or decline the applicant
If you decide to approve an applicant, send the business owner or principal a commercial lease agreement to fill out.
Send a tenant rejection letter to any applicants you decline. This declination letter should clearly state the reason for denial to help protect you if the applicant claims discrimination and because it is a courteous business practice.
Secretary of State Offices
The resources below help to verify a business with the Secretary of State:
Sample Commercial Lease Application Form
Below is a free commercial lease application template you can use to screen potential tenants. Download this form in .pdf or word doc format.
Commercial Lease Application Sample
Use our step-by-step builder to quickly create a commercial lease application that helps you screen applicants and find the right tenant.
After you choose the perfect tenant, turn to Legal Templates to guide you through the commercial lease agreement creation process.
How to Write a Commercial Lease Application Form
A commercial lease application should include the following:
Step 1 – Fill in Basic Information About the Commercial Property
A business rental application form needs to summarize basic information about the commercial property the landlord is renting:
1. Date of Application
2. Landlord Name
3. Property Address
4. Property Square Footage
Step 2 – Enter Business Applicant Information
The next section of a commercial property application addresses the applicant’s identifying information:
5. Business name
7. Type of entity (Corporation, LLC, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, Other)
8. Date of business formation
9. State of business formation
10. Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You should also use this section of a commercial rental application to gather information about where the business currently resides (primary location) and how you can contact the business principals:
11. Office address
12. Business phone number
13. Business email address
Additionally, ask for the following information to get a better idea of how the business operates:
14. Business industry/description
15. Proposed use of premises
16. Number of years in business
17. Gross annual revenue
18. Other business locations
Step 3 – Write Name of Person Signing Lease/Individual Owner
The person (or persons) who will sign the lease agreement (often the business owner or owners) must provide personal information on a commercial lease application.
This identifying information helps the landlord conduct any credit and background checks necessary to determine risk and creditworthiness.
The following is what you should ask of each person legally responsible for entering into contracts for the business:
19. Full name
20. Business title
21. Date of birth
22. Social Security number
23. Personal address
24. Personal phone number
25. Personal email address
26. Driver’s license number and state of issue
Step 4 – Identify Name of Person Guaranteeing Lease
Landlords often ask for guarantors on a commercial lease. This person agrees to fulfill the primary debtholder’s contractual obligations should the debtholder fail to do so.
You may request more than one person to guarantee the lease. For each guarantor, collect:
27. Full name
28. Business title (if applicable)
29. Date of birth
30. Social Security number
31. Personal address
32. Personal phone number
33. Personal email address
34. Driver’s license number and state of issue
Step 5 – Collect Bank References
Bank references are bank managers’ written opinions of their customer’s (your applicant’s) financial stability and creditworthiness.
On a business lease application form, gather the information necessary to contact the potential tenant’s banking institution:
35. Bank name
36. Bank contact name and title
37. Bank address
38. Bank phone number
39. Bank email address
40. Account type and number
Request bank references for two bank accounts if possible and applicable.
Step 6 – Gather Business and Credit References
Business and credit references are companies or individuals who can vouch for the prospective tenant’s business aptitude and ability to make timely lease payments.
When writing a commercial rental application, request the following business and credit reference information:
42. Title (if applicable)
43. Business address
44. Relationship to applicant
45. Phone number
46. Email address
Always ask for at least two credit or business references for a commercial rental application.
Step 7 – Ask for Personal References
Personal references shed light on your applicant’s character.
Request at least two personal references and gather the following from each:
47. Full name
49. Relationship to applicant
50. Phone number
51. Email address
Step 8 – Get Lease History
A commercial lease history is a list of properties the business rented in the past. If the applicant owned all prior places of occupancy, ask for addresses of real estate ownership.
Ask the applicant to provide:
52. Current business address
53. Dates of occupancy for current address
54. Reason for leaving current address
55. Whether the applicant owns or rents at its current location
56. Monthly rent/mortgage payment
57. Landlord/mortgage company and contact name
58. Landlord/mortgage company phone number
59. Landlord/mortgage company email address
Gather the above information for prior addresses for the length of time you deem appropriate.
Step 9 – Enter Assets and Sources of Income
Your applicant should provide information on assets and income sources for commercial property consideration.
Request the following:
60. All business assets and their value
61. All sources of income
62. The amount of money brought in monthly from each income source
Step 10 – Fill in Creditors/Liabilities
A business’s liabilities are losses, ongoing obligations, debt, and continued operating costs.
Creditors are people or companies the applicant owes money.
Ask for the name of all creditors and the amount due to each for every applicant listed on the commercial lease application.
Step 11 – Identify Other Information to Collect
You can write other questions on your lease application to gauge whether or not the applicant will be a good tenant.
Ask if the applicant or any principal, officer, or partner has:
63. Been evicted
64. Breached a lease agreement
65. Been sued for nonpayment of rent
66. Been involved in other litigation
67. Declared bankruptcy
If the applicant replies ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, require an explanation.
Step 12 – Ask for Addition Documents on Your Commercial Rental Application
68. Landlords use additional documents, including bank statements and financial reports, to verify assets and liabilities and to discern the business’ stability and creditworthiness:
- Business financial statements, profit and loss statements, balance sheet
- Personal financial statements (if applicable)
- Bank account statements
- Tax returns (business and personal if applicable)
- Business plan
- Credit report (business and personal if applicable)
69. Leave space on your business lease application form for additional comments and requirements related to approval for your commercial lease.
A commercial property lease application should include language that states the prospective renter provides authorization to the landlord to verify all information.
This authorization also gives the property owner the right to conduct credit and background checks as appropriate.
70. Require the applicant’s signature (and date) on your lease application to confirm such authorization.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Landlords cannot ask any questions on a business lease application that discriminate based on:
Landlords cannot ask any questions on a business lease application that discriminate based on:
A business credit score is a risk and creditworthiness score a third-party company assigns to a business owner or principal. The following companies (and more) provide business credit scores: Dun & Bradstreet is well known in the business credit scoring industry, and it assigns PAYDEX scores that range from 1 to 100 based on past payment performance and creditworthiness. Below is a breakdown of what each score range represents:
A business credit score is a risk and creditworthiness score a third-party company assigns to a business owner or principal.
The following companies (and more) provide business credit scores:
Dun & Bradstreet is well known in the business credit scoring industry, and it assigns PAYDEX scores that range from 1 to 100 based on past payment performance and creditworthiness.
Below is a breakdown of what each score range represents:
Commercial rental applications help landlords assess the risk of signing potential tenants to a lease agreement. When you receive any business lease application form: Review our example commercial lease application pdf for pertinent information to collect from a prospective tenant.
Commercial rental applications help landlords assess the risk of signing potential tenants to a lease agreement.
When you receive any business lease application form:
Review our example commercial lease application pdf for pertinent information to collect from a prospective tenant.