Application Process & Instructions
If you are interested in applying for any property currently available on my website, please send an email to me at email@example.com and include your name, email and phone number. I will then send out an invitation to apply. All proposed adult occupants are required to submit an application. The application fee is $40 and each applicant will be required to attach their proof of income and a copy of their identification.
While credit scores under 600 can be scary, I tend to rely more heavily on the credit history itself. Items on credit that will usually lead to a denial are unpaid liens or judgments (they can become a pay garnishment), an eviction or debt from a prior tenancy, utilities that are unpaid or in collections, and a bankruptcy that has not been discharged. If you have something specific on your credit history that may be a disqualified, feel free to contact me with specifics so that I can either encourage you to move forward with your application or advise if that item(s) would disqualify you for tenancy.
Many management companies require a minimum of 3x the rent for qualification to be met. I look more closely at income:debt ratio. So in some cases, where there is a great deal of debt, 3x may actually be insufficient. Income to costs to live has to make sense naturally to both me and the owner in order for an applicant to be advanced to the approval process.
I make every attempt to accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis, but often times receive several applications around the same time frame. If this occurs, the applications will be processed simultaneously, and recommendations will be made by management to the owner who ultimately approves an applicant for tenancy. If your application is incomplete or not processed, the fee will be refunded back the way in which it was paid (bank account/credit card).
Maximum Application Screening Fees. When Civil Code §1950.6 was first enacted, owners and managers could not charge more than $30 per applicant for an application fee. The law allows the landlord to increase the $30 charge annually according to the consumer price index (CPI). In 2019, the maximum statutory amount is $50.94.
To avoid unfair business practice claims, conservative property owners and managers set their application fees at the lesser of the statutory maximum or their actual screening costs. An application screening fee should not be charged if the property owner or manager does not incur any screening costs (i.e. when no credit report is run or if the owner or manager did not perform a personal reference check or other processing).
Application Screening Fees When No Unit is Available. Unless the applicant agrees in writing, owners and managers cannot charge an application screening fee at all if they do not have a current vacancy or do not anticipate vacancies becoming available within a reasonable period of time. Civil Code §1950.6(c). The intent of the law is to prohibit any owner or manager from charging application screening fees when there are no units currently available to rent. But, if the applicant agrees in writing to have the report run when there are no current vacancies or no vacancies available within a reasonable period of time, an application screening fee may be charged. Otherwise, alternatives are to run credit reports and process the application at the landlord’s expense or wait to charge the fee and process the application when the applicant is at the top of the waiting list.
Charging Application Fees for Husband and Wife. Treating married couples differently than single persons is discriminatory in California. Each adult applicant should complete a rental application and should be charged the same fee. The monetary limit is per person regardless of the relationship between the parties.
Information to Include on the Receipt for the Application Fee. The applicant must be given an itemized receipt showing the actual charge for the credit report and the “soft costs” for the time and expense incurred by the owner/ manager for obtaining, processing and verifying the application (i.e. including past rental history, current employment, bank accounts, etc.). Civil Code §1950.6(d) and (f). If the total cost is less than the fee collected, the remaining sum should be returned to the applicant. Many application forms and some holding deposit agreements contain a receipt for the application fee, so often the application fee receipt is provided on either the application form or the holding deposit agreement form.