The information gained from requiring potential tenants to complete a rental application provides a landlord with a fair and objective basis for accepting or denying the application for a lease agreement.
Florida landlords should be familiar with all state and Federal laws regarding rentals and landlord-tenant relationships, including statutes in Florida that specifically provide protections for armed forces members.
A standard Florida rental application will typically request the following information:
- The applicant’s contact information (name, phone number, email address, and current place of residence)
- Proof of income (a pay stub, W-2, or bank information)
- Rental or residence history
- Employment history
- References (previous landlords, employers, and personal contacts familiar with the renter’s character)
In Florida, it’s also essential to include a question inquiring about the applicant’s military service.
Florida law, specifically Florida Stat. § 83.683, requires a property owner in the state to respond to prospective tenants who are active military members within seven (7) days of receiving a rental application.
Landlords can either accept the application and offer the applicant a Florida residential rental agreement or send a rental application rejection letter explaining why they denied the application.
If a landlord fails to comply with the seven (7) day rule, they are obligated to rent the property to the servicemember regardless of other factors they may have wanted to consider.
Rental Application Fees
The landlord typically requests a rental application fee to cover the cost of associated background, credit, and eviction history checks.
An applicant’s willingness to put down a small sum, generally between $25 and $75, also shows that they are serious about renting the property.
- Florida does not limit the amount a landlord may charge for the rental application fee, but landlords should set an amount approximate to the expenses incurred for processing the application.
- Property owners must keep any money collected as part of a security deposit or pet deposit in a separate account from other funds.
- Individual cities and counties in Florida may cap the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit.
- Florida also prohibits a property owner from charging a pet deposit if the animal in question is a service animal.
Authorization for Background Check
- An applicant’s credit history, previous rental history, and criminal background are essential factors to consider when renting a property.
- Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a rental applicant must give written consent before a Florida property owner can run a credit background check. Consider including a consent statement from the applicant on the rental application, or use our background check authorization form.
- No written permission is needed to conduct Florida public criminal or eviction record searches.
How to Conduct an Eviction Record Search in Florida
You can save money by conducting your own eviction records search.
Florida uses a third-party service that provides essential information when you enter an applicant’s name. However, more detailed information may cost a small fee.
Other Resources for Landlords in Florida
How to Write a Rental Application
Follow the steps below to write a rental application in Florida.
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 provides the applicant(s) 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 Florida Rental Application Form
Below is an example of a standard Florida rental application form.
You may download this free form or use our document builder to create a customized Florida rental application that covers all the details unique to your real estate needs.