Free California Rental Application Forms (Word / PDF)

A California rental application form is a document used by property managers and landlords to screen potential renters by collecting information regarding their rental history, employment and income, and other relevant information. With the help of this form, property managers and landlords gather detailed information from a potential renter. The information mentioned in the form is used to determine whether the renter will be a safe and responsible tenant before offering a lease agreement. Moreover, the applicant by completing California rental application form authorizes the residential property owner to do a background check on them. The property owners can also charge applicants a non-refundable rental application fee. It covers the background and credit history check costs. Some other names of rental application form are;
  • A lease application
  • A rental lease application
  • A residential lease/residential rental application
  • A tenant application
  • An application for a rental property

Criteria for screening tenants:

Here is the criteria for screening prospective tenants by landlords;
  • Investigate the applicant’s credit history
  • Inquire whether or not the prospective tenant has any criminal offenses on their record
  • Assess a past rental and eviction history to find out whether the applicant has a positive rental history
  • Contact information of current and past employer
  • Sex offender status
  • For assurance, verify the prospective tenant’s employment and income that whether they have the means to pay rent.

States laws in California:

Here are the state laws that affect the rental application form process in California;

Application fee

On the basis of the consumer price index and adjust inflation, California state laws set a maximum rental application fee. So, the purpose of the non-refundable rental application fee is not to make profits. It just covers the costs associated with screening the applicant.

Important considerations

  • The screening fee shouldn’t exceed the prospective landlord’s actual out-of-pocket costs of running a background check.
  • The property owner should give each applicant with a written receipt upon payment of the application screening fee.
  • The landlord should return any amount of the screening fee in case they don’t run a background check or credit check on the applicant.
  • The property owner or their agent are legally prohibited from charging an applicant an application fee when they know that no rental units are currently available within a reasonable period.
  • The applicant has right to receive a copy of the credit report when he pays an application fee.

Security deposit

According to the California tenancy laws (Cal. Civ. Code & 1950.5), a security deposit refers to any payment, deposit, fee, or charge that is imposed at the beginning of the rental agreement. A security deposit can be used to reimburse the landlord for costs associated with processing a new tenant. The security deposit may come in handy for the following purposes;
  • Compensation of the landlord for a tenant’s default in rent payment
  • To mend any damages that are caused to the rental unit
  • To cater for cleaning of the residential property upon termination of the rental/lease agreement
  • Under the rental agreement, to remedy future defaults by the tenant in any obligation

Standard limit/maximum amount

According to California state laws, for unfurnished rentals, landlords and property managers allows to charge a security deposit of no more than two months’ rent.

Requirements of receipt

After receiving payment for the security deposit, the California tenancy law does not need property owners to issue written security deposit receipts to a tenant. But, having this written proof is important for both the landlord and the tenant. You may also like Parking Space Rental Agreement Template.

Financial holdings

In California during the tenancy period, the property owner holds any security deposit made by a tenant.

Fillable California Rental Application Form

fillable california rental application form
File Format
Word (doc, docx)
Size: (51 KB)

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File Format
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File Format
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California Application and Consumer Report Template

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In conclusion, a California rental application form is a document used to screen potential renters. A California landlord can charge as a rental application fee varies on the basis of the consumer price index.

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