Last updated Apr 6, 2021
Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. Any legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so you should consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy. You may not rely on this article as legal advice, nor as an endorsement of any particular legal understanding.
California Association of Realtors® Application to Rent
As a member of the California Association of REALTORS®, you enjoy access to a number of discounted and free business tools-- one of the most powerful tools being the C.A.R. rental application. REALTORS® who handle rentals need a reliable and legally safe rental application to use. The California Association of REALTORS® rental application is the ideal choice. REALTORS® who work with rentals need to be extra careful because HUD's Fair Housing Act requires that REALTORS® and owners be meticulous when screening potential tenants. It can be easy to inadvertently and unintentionally violate the Fair Housing Act. This is the last thing you want to do. Violations can be avoided by using a legally vetted rental application.
Rental Application Concerns
Here are some concerns to keep in mind when you use a standard rental application form.
It's important to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision about an applicant, but don't overdo it. You only need to gather the information that is directly relevant to your decision. Doing more can place you in hot water. Many real estate professionals make the mistake of collecting too much information, and in the process unintentionally violate the Fair Housing Act or other federal requirements.
Less is more when screening a prospective tenant. It’s a great responsibility to safeguard an applicant’s sensitive and personal information, so the less you need to collect, the less liability you incur. Also, this lowers your chances of discrimination claims by tenants.
For instance, you may not have to ask for a date of birth on a lease application. This could be perceived as discriminatory, and there’s really no reason to request this (as long as the applicant is over 18) if you are using an online tenant screening platform like RentSpree.
It’s also unwise to collect information such as place of birth, gender, race, and citizenship status. When you use an online tenant screening service, you can greatly reduce your liability. RentSpree has teamed up with the California Association of REALTORS® to provide a C.A.R. rental application that collects the appropriate information for you to make an informed decision.
Of course, it's just as bad not to collect enough information on the rental application because there are certain crucial pieces of information needed for successful tenant screening. For instance, you'll want to know the previous address history and the reason for leaving the last residence. Also, make sure to collect the name and contact information for the previous landlords so that you can verify the information given.
If you are a California Association of REALTORS® member, you can access RentSpree’s tenant screening service at no cost to you. Better yet, when you link your zipForm® Plus account with RentSpree, you can even collect a digitally completed California Association of REALTORS® application to rent.
One of the many benefits of using RentSpree for tenant screening is the ease at which you can receive C.A.R. rental applications filled out online by applicants. If you are a member of the California Association of REALTORS® and have a zipForm® Plus account, you can easily connect it with RentSpree to access the C.A.R. Application to Rent form directly.
How much does RentSpree’s California Association of REALTORS® rental application cost?
RentSpree’s online C.A.R. rental application is free for California Association of REALTORS® members and free for applicants to fill out. There is only a screening fee to access the screening reports, and that fee can be paid directly by the applicant. The applicant fills out the form online after they are invited by you to apply. This is done by either sending ApplyLink™ to the applicant’s email or handing out a rental application flyer with the link at an open house.
What makes the California Association of REALTORS® rental application so special?
It protects you from potential legal missteps that can be done inadvertently. The Fair Housing Act protects applicants from potential housing discrimination violations. It’s a good idea to read as much as you can about HUD’s Fair Housing Act before beginning the tenant screening process. Check out Chapter 7: Fair Housing Act of our online guide. Earning a Fair Housing Act violation is the last thing you want to do. It can destroy your business and reputation.
One of the benefits that C.A.R. members enjoy is the legal protection and resources that the organization offers, one of which, is the C.A.R. rental application. C.A.R. conducts regular legal reviews of all the forms it offers to ensure that they provide members with maximum protection. That gives real estate professionals peace of mind when they use this form.
RentSpree, in conjunction with the California Association of REALTORS®, offers C.A.R. members access to RentSpree's online fillable C.A.R. rental application for free. This is free to C.A.R. members and reduces liability. Access to the C.A.R. rental application form also speeds up the tenant screening process. Many REALTORS®, property managers, and landlords spend countless hours tracking down paper applications and reading nearly illegible forms. RentSpree's C.A.R. rental application gives you a clean, readable, and legally secure rental application to use for screening.
How Does RentSpree's Fillable Online C.A.R. Rental Application Form Work?
Send the applicant an email inviting them to apply through RentSpree. You can do this either through RentSpree’s platform or via your California Association of REALTORS® zipForm® Plus Account.
After the applicant fills out the online form, an email notifies you that the application is ready for viewing. You can then access the C.A.R. rental application form for each applicant. Just make sure you link your zipForm® Plus and RentSpree accounts, otherwise you will not be able to access the C.A.R. rental application for the applicant.
RentSpree’s platform is user-friendly and easy to navigate, so you’ll be able to see all applicants and their information with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Also, you’ll be able to see the applicant’s credit report, credit score, background check, and eviction reports (if requested) all in one place on the RentSpree dashboard. You can save or print the applicant’s rental application in PDF format too. The dashboard allows you to send more application requests and to see application statuses for current applicants.
RentSpree offers real estate professionals a proprietary platform to seamlessly screen and verify tenants. This tool available for at no cost to California Association of REALTORS® members, automates the tenant screening process, and is available 24/7. By using RentSpree, you’ll get access to thorough TransUnion screening reports and a fully completed California Association of REALTORS® rental application that follows applicable guidelines.