Importance of Using an Application

Posted By: Chartrice Young (deleted) Leasing, Tenant Screening,

We have seen a number of housing providers operating without having the tenant complete an application. Requiring applicants to fill out an application for tenancy is one of the most important steps you can follow when screening your prospective tenant. Not only will you rely on this information for checking credit and background information, but you will also need to have this on file if you decide to rent to them. So, make sure that the information provided is both legible and complete. RHAWA’s Application for Tenancy is constantly updated to reflect rapidly changing laws. Below is a breakdown of the information requested on the application and its importance. 

Owner/Agent/ Contact Information

This should be filled out with your information so that when you submit your tenant screening order we know how to contact you. It also allows you to select your tenant screening package. Do not put the applicants’ information in this space. 

Applicant Information

Make sure that this is filled out legibly. The information in this section is what is used to pull credit, criminal and eviction information. The accuracy of this data is particularly important. When going over the information, check it against the applicant’s ID to make sure it is correct.

 Occupancy Information

This section provides further information about your applicant and who will be residing in the rental unit with them. Remember, it is recommended that anyone 18 or older who will be residing on the premises fill out a rental application and is screened.

Personal Background History

This section gives the applicant the opportunity to be forthcoming about any criminal charges that may have been filed against them. Please note that per RCW 19.182.040 some records that antedate seven years will not be reported on a tenant screening report. Also please note that in the city of Seattle, you have limited access to criminal records under the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance.

 Financial Information

Allows the applicant to provide information regarding what type of accounts they have with financial institutions and other financial obligations they will be responsible for in addition to the cost of rent.

 Previous Residence History

Make sure this section has been filled out completely. This information is pertinent to checking on rental history of your prospective tenant - Landlord/Manager’s name and phone numbers are very important.

 Income History

The information in this section helps when verifying your applicant’s income. Make sure the employer’s name and phone number are listed. In addition to contacting their employer for verification you may also want to require paycheck stubs verifying the information provided is correct.

 Emergency/Personal Contacts

This information is helpful if there is an emergency regarding the safety of the tenant or may be helpful if you are unable to reach the tenant after they move out.


Make sure that all applicants have read and signed the rental application. If you are contacted in the future regarding an inquiry on their credit or background this is your proof that they gave you permission to do so. It is also a brief summary of their rights as an applicant which is important for them to be aware of.

Always make sure you are using the correct application for where your property is located. You will want to ensure you go on our website and download the latest application. Using an older application may mean you are out of compliance with the newest laws and ordinances.


For more information on our applications please visit our website at You may also contact our Support Center at