An Ohio Lease or Rental Application is a form used by Ohio landlords to screen and vet potential tenants to determine whether they are reliable and able pay rent in a timely manner.
A standard Rental/Lease Application provides a landlord with the opportunity to screen for any red flags a tenant may raise, ranging from credit history to past employment references.
Ohio Rental Application Statistic/Specifics
Of the 3,059 discrimination cases handled by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in 2016, approximately 14% were housing cases.
Ohio imposes/requires unique requirements on landlords screening potential/future tenants and tenant’s rights under the screening process. For example, Ohio Statute provides for the following:
The Ohio Attorney general lays out recommendations for Ohio landlords when screening tenants:
- Prepare written, objective policies detailing the criteria for approval,
- Train all assistants on relevant housing policies,
- Keep up-to-date applications,
- Keep records.
A Landlord may search for eviction proceedings commenced against a tenant up to seven (7) years before the application.
The Ohio Department of Corrections records felony convictions from 1990 onwards.
Landlords should keep in mind that it is illegal under the Fair Housing Act to refuse to rent to persons without a social security number.
Ohio landlords are not required to return application fees, however, they may still recommend they do so.
Timeframe to File Complaint
In order to file a timely complaint in Ohio, a charge of discrimination must be filed if the act of discrimination happened within one (1) year from the date of filing. (§4112-3-01)
After the filing of a discrimination charge, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission has one year to complete the investigation. (§4112-6-01)
If you are a foreign student looking to rent, or a person without a social security number, don’t sweat! Nonimmigrant aliens (those legally in the U.S. not intending to settle permanently) may use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), issued by the IRS, as an alternate form of identification.
Regardless of your state, the federally-mandated Fair Housing Act offers uniform protection for all buyers and renters from landlord and seller discrimination. The Fair Housing Act provides against landlord discrimination based on:
- National origin
- Color of skin
- Familial status
Landlords may however inquire into certain objective criteria to determine whether tenants are a fit to rent and pay rent in a trustworthy and timely manner. Landlords can screen a potential tenant by searching:
- Employer or past employer’s name, address, and contact information
- Current or past landlords and rental or eviction history
- Salary specifics as provided through pay stubs or proof of income
- Credit history and information on checkings or savings accounts
- Sex offender registry
- Rental or personal references
- Criminal history
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act govern credit reporting and inquiry by landlords and sellers. Both acts affect tenant screening by requiring:
Written, oral, or electronic notice of any adverse action taken by a landlord after reviewing a tenant screening report.
Consumer Report Details
The name, address, and number of the consumer reporting agency that provided the report to the landlord. The landlord must also provide disclosure of the numerical credit score and information (score range, score factors, score date) for applicant perusal.
Copy and Opportunity to Dispute
The landlord provides the applying tenant with a copy of the screening report, and an opportunity to dispute the completeness and accuracy of the report.