California Tenant Screening & Rental Applications

Real Estate Agent with PreApproved Renter

California is one of the largest rental markets in the US. 

If you are a landlord, real estate agent, or property manager it's critical you are familiar with some of the different California tenant screening laws and the different California Rental Applications

We've written extensively on the topic on our blog. To summarize some of the main points: 

  1. The California Association of Rentals Rental Application is the most widely used rental application. This application was created by California Association of Realtors and is updated typically every year. It has most of the important questions you would need to ask a tenant and the disclosures you would need to get signed in order to run background checks. PreApprovedRenter has a digital version of this application that allows you to collect a clients paperwork and instantly run background checks on them. 
  2. You can charge a tenant for the cost of a background check however, the amount you can charge changes year by year based on the consumer price index. As of 2019 that amount is capped at around $40.  This cost is to cover your out of pocket cost of the report and an itemized receipt is to be given.
  3. If you run background checks on a tenant this report also has to be provided to the client. The best practice is to give them the contact information to the Credit Reporting Agency and have them contact them directly for a copy. 
  4. If you run criminal background checks its best to do so on every applicant. Real estate professionals that pick and choose who to run criminal background checks on could be liable to charges of discrimination. 
  5. Landlords should avoid asking questions on their application that have to do with national origin, marital status, disability or medical condition, color, ancenstry, source of income, religion, sexual orientation, race or sex. 
  6. California landlords, property managers and real estate agents need to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It's important to have a disclosure on your applications that state something to the effect of: I acknowledge that I have been given access to "A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act" which can be found at the link here.

You can learn more about California tenant screening and rental applications on our blog. You can also sign up to our site to customize your own rental application how you see fit. 

This post is not intended as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any legal matters. 


Comments (5)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Welcome to the ActiveRain community. Congratulations on your first post.

Oct 22, 2019 04:20 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Very nice first post. Congratulations and Welcome to ActiveRain. Please be sure to ask if you have any questions.

Oct 22, 2019 04:24 PM
Joann Schermerhorn
Live Simple Eco - Overland Park, KS
Live Simple Eco Blog- Eco-Friendly Living

Great tips for anyone in California. This is helpful. Welcome to the community!

Oct 23, 2019 09:15 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Ariel D welcome to ActiveRain, and congratulations on successfully posting your first blog on this site.

Oct 27, 2019 12:24 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Welcome to Active Rain, looking forward to reading many more of your posts, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help as you get started here.
All the best of success to you.

Dec 10, 2019 09:27 PM