A Washington Rental Application form is a document that local property owners and landlords use to collect the necessary information to decide to who they want to offer a lease agreement.
If you own property in Washington, there are key questions that you want to ask but also need to make sure you do not violate the rights of the rental applicants.
Learn more about Washington rental laws below and use our template to help you screen your prospective tenants.
- Washington Rental Application Information for Applicants and Tenants
- Federal and Washington Fair Housing Law
- Washington Notice of Selection Criteria for Landlords
- Authorization for Background Check
- How to Conduct an Eviction Records Search
- Washington Rental Application Statistics
- Other Landlord Resources
- How to Write a Rental Application
- Sample Washington Rental Application Form
Washington Rental Application Information for Applicants and Tenants
According to the Washington Landlord-Tenant Act, there are several important points that applicants need to know about fees and deposits.
- Application Fee: A property owner can charge a rental application fee, but the fee can only be for the actual costs incurred by the landlord for applicant screening. The amount charged cannot be more than the typical costs charged by screening services in the area.
- Security Deposit: In the state of Washington, a landlord can charge any amount he or she wants for a security deposit. The security deposit has to be placed in a trust account for security deposits with a Washington licensed escrow agent, or in a state or federal financial institution that is adequately protected.
- Pet Deposit: Washington landlords may charge a pet deposit. They must provide the tenant with a written agreement that states the deposit amount, terms, and conditions under which the renter may get the deposit back.
Federal and Washington Fair Housing Law
All landlords in Washington are required to follow the Federal Fair Housing Act and Washington fair housing laws, which means they are not allowed to ask about:
- The religious leanings of the applicant
- The national origin, race, or color of the applicant
- The sexual orientation or gender identity of the applicant
- The age of the applicant
- Whether the applicant is married or has children
- Whether the applicant receives public housing assistance or government assistance
- Whether the applicant serves or served in the military
Washington Notice of Selection Criteria for Landlords
In Washington, all landlords and property owners must provide a notice to each applicant outlining the criteria used to decide whether they will rent their property out to a specific applicant.
This information has to include the source of the screening processes, the cost, and what would cause an applicant to be denied.
Authorization for Background Check
Conducting a background check is a good way for landlords to mitigate potential problems arising from a tenant’s poor credit history or criminal convictions.
Property owners need an applicant’s permission to perform background checks that examine credit, rental history (evictions), and criminal activity.
You can include a consent statement on your rental application or use our background check authorization form to get permission.
How to Conduct an Eviction Records Search
- Navigate to the Washington Courts website
- Accept the court’s disclaimer
- Select ‘Case Search’
- Choose ‘District and Municipal Courts’ from the drop-down
- Select ‘Search by Name’
- Select the applicable ‘Court Name’ and date range
- Type the applicant’s information
Send a rental application rejection letter if you decide not to offer a lease agreement to an applicant based on a background check or eviction records search.
Washington Rental Application Statistics
According to the National Fair Housing Alliance Annual Report, national housing discrimination complaints have increased over the past few years.
In 2021, more than 31,000 fair housing complaints were filed. Furthermore, the Fair Housing Partners of Washington State indicates that housing discrimination occurs daily in Washington.
As a local property owner, you must make sure you do not discriminate against any of your applicants.
Other Landlord Resources
How to Write a Rental Application
When you are writing a rental application in Washington, some of the most important steps you need to follow include the following:
- Always start by listing the address of your property.
- Ask each applicant to provide basic identifying information.
- Ask for a prior address history and some references from prior landlords.
- Ask for employment and financial history from each applicant.
- Get consent from the applicant to run a credit check and background check.
- Ask about smoking history and pets if you feel the information is relevant to your property.
Sample Washington Rental Application Form
Use our Washington rental application template to make sure you screen your applicants thoroughly.