Rental Application

This rental application goes with the other application forms on this site.

Thoughts about this Downloadable Rental Application

Here's "best practice" for using a rental application.

Before a tour, print out a bunch of copies and leave them on the countertop in the kitchen. Tenants who have been in the market for a while will know when they've found a place they like, and they'll ask to fill out the application then and there. You want to be ready. Have a couple of pens alongside the applications and let them fill it out there in the kitchen.

When they get to the ID part, check their drivers' licenses right away. That crosses off an item on the checklist. (Do you know how to check a driver's license? Note that the number they write on their application matches their card and that their picture and date of birth seem plausible. Sometimes, boy, it's hard to see the resemblance.)

Ask them to put a line through any boxes that don't apply. That way they can't claim later that they didn't see that part of the application. Make sure they sign the final page authorizing the credit check.

Really well prepared applicants have their pay stubs with them. If they do, check them. Most won't. Tell them you'll start processing the application and that they should get their pay stubs and come back a second time to drop off copies or show you for verification.

It is an extremely bad idea to give applications selectively.  If you offer them only to tenants you like, you open yourself up to discrimination lawsuits. Offer a rental application to every tenant who takes a tour. The Commonwealth has in the past sent people around checking for discrimination. If you imply a desire to rent to a different type of person, or even if you appeal to your "strict requirements" when telling someone they won't qualify, you have put yourself at risk.  That prospective tenant, who deserved the chance to fill out your application, could come back with a state attorney. (Yes, this has happened.)

Give everyone a rental application.  If they refuse because they say they aren't interested, make a note for your records but don't push it on them.

Latest Version: 20.4
  • v20.4
    • Switch to Word format.
    • Greatly expand application for prior address history.
    • Add educational attainment.
    • Offer a fillable form suitable for uploading to Docusign.
  • v18
    • Changed question about eviction to “being named in a civil lawsuit (including but not limited to eviction).”
    • Renamed section about “Employment” to “Income” and explicitly included subsidies.
    • Added protected classes to the optional anti-discrimination message at the end.
    • Background check authorization now explicitly lists references.
    • Added a section for education.
    • Renamed “pets” to “animals” for thoroughness.
  • v17
    • Removed question about bankruptcy. Although this is a serious black mark, it’s dealt with on the applicant qualifier. It’s not an immediate disqualifier, and at least one landlord has been found to be unfairly discriminating at the application stage on the basis of past bankruptcy (we aren’t sure of the particulars of the case, but probably it would have to do with “disparate impact” combined with other problems in that landlord’s practice.)
  • v16
    • Added reference to Terms of Use in footer.
    • Verified that we're not asking for ages here (just "Each applicant over 18 must fill out...")
  • v15
    • Starting version

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Sample of Massachusetts tenancy at will rental agreement

MassLandlords is a nonprofit dedicated to helping owners rent their property. We try our best, but we can't guarantee these forms will always work. We provide legal information but never advice particular to your situation. Nothing on this site is meant to create an attorney-client relationship. We advise you consult with an attorney.