An Alabama Rental/Lease Application is appropriate when landlords or property managers want to review prospective tenants before renting offering them a Lease Agreement.
Our Alabama rental application helps screen tenants quickly and efficiently before accepting them.
The rental application should contain requests for all information about the tenant, such as their name and current address, past rental history, financial and employment information, and professional and personal references.
A rental/lease application cannot contain questions about a tenant’s race, religion, national origin, familial status, disability, or sex (gender identity and sexual orientation) per federal and state fair housing laws.
Alabama Rental Application Fees
You are allowed to charge an application fee in Alabama. There is no law regarding the amount you can charge, but you may have fewer applicants if you set the fee too high.
The fee should be proportional to the costs of processing the application, such as running the background check.
Alabama law does put a cap on the security deposit (Alabama Code § 35-9A-201).
The security deposit may not be more than one month’s rent, except for separate pet deposits, alterations to the premises, or increased liability risks to the landlord.
If you charge a pet or other additional deposit besides a security deposit, you should make the amount separate from the security deposit. For instance, “Security deposit: $800. Pet deposit: $100.”
Authorization for Background Check
Alabama allows landlords and property managers to conduct background checks on tenants. However, city or county regulations may limit such checks.
Be sure to check your local laws before conducting your search.
A background check requires signed authorization from the tenant. Too many landlords fail to get the necessary consent and find themselves in trouble later.
A landlord may only carry out a check related to leasing an apartment, that is, a check on a business concern of the landlord.
Most landlords use a third-party company to perform background checks. If the company does not provide you with their authorization form, you can use our background check authorization form.
How To Conduct an Eviction Record Search in Alabama
You should ask your tenants if they have ever broken a lease from another apartment or if they have an eviction on their record. They may have a legitimate reason for such an action.
However, you can also do an eviction record search to verify their statement.
Alabama court records are public so that any public member can access them. However, you will likely have to register with a website and pay a nominal fee to obtain the records.
- One such site is Just One Look. This site allows you to access Alabama civil, criminal, and domestic relations records.
- Create an account.
- Access the Name Search page.
- Enter the potential renter’s name and choose “CIVIL” or “BOTH” to access civil court documents. If you know the city or county where the renter previously lived, you can narrow your search by entering that information.
- A name search is $9.99 at the time of this writing. “No Matching Records” is considered a valid search result. Each name is a separate search, and each search has a fee. (In other words, “Smith, John” and “John Smith” are two different searches, and each one will cost $9.99.)
Sometimes a background check agency can do an eviction record search. If you are still determining if you should approve an applicant and want such a check, you should ask if they can perform this search.
Other Resources for Landlords in Alabama
If you have concerns about a potential or current tenant, the Alabama Sex Offender Registry is available for public use.
You should use the site with discretion, and law enforcement advises against confronting a suspect for any reason.
The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) assists homeowners and renters with everything from emergency assistance to federal aid.
How to Write a Rental Application
Follow the steps below to write a rental application in Alabama.
Step 1 – Fill in Property Address Information
Write the date of the rental application and the address of the rental property.
Step 2 – Collect Basic Rental Applicant Information
This section is for the applicant(s) to provide basic identifying information about themselves.
Step 3 – Collect Applicant’s Residence History
In this section, the applicant(s) provides their residence history including addresses, dates of residency and reasons for moving.
Step 4 – Gather Applicant’s Employment History
This section is for the applicant(s) to provide current and previous employment information and other sources of income.
Step 5 – Gather Applicant’s Financial History
This section is for the applicant(s) to provide bank account and credit card information.
Step 6 – Collect References
The applicant(s) provides personal references’ names and contact information in this section.
Step 7 – Additional Questions and Verification
This section contains additional questions to determine more information about the applicant such as smoking or pets.
Sample Alabama Rental Application Form
Below is an example of a standard Alabama rental application form.
You may download this free form or use our document builder to create a customized Alabama rental application that covers all the details unique to your real estate needs.