Chapter 5: Free Rental Application Form

Rental applications in both online and PDF formats

Last updated Jun 20, 2019

When you need to screen tenants, getting a rental application form filled out is one of the first steps you must take. But you may be wondering where you can get a free rental application or which rental application is good to use.

Luckily, RentSpree offers a rental application for your tenants to fill out. Even better, RentSpree gives you two options of formats you can use:


1. Online rental application
You can have applicants fill out an online rental application through our automated system by signing up.

Collect Online Rental Application

2. Rental application PDF (paper-based)
Click below to view/print a free rental application PDF.

Download Free Rental Application Form

Which Rental Application Form Method is Right for You?

You’ve already passed the first hurdle by understanding that you need a rental application template to properly vet tenants. But should you use a digital process or a paper-based process to collect your application?

The short answer is “it depends”. To help, we’ve created an in-depth comparison using five categories.

1. Ease of Use

Advantage: Online Rental Application

Online Rental Application

For most applicants, filling out an online rental application is much easier. Filling out an application by hand requires them to scan/email/fax the application back to you. RentSpree allows applicants to fill out a rental application template using any internet-enabled device and it is delivered to you instantly as soon as the application submits. Best of all, the process is designed to be so simple that nearly anyone can complete the process.

Rental Application PDF

While many applicants in this day and age prefer a digital process, some applicants who are less technically savvy may prefer a paper-based rental application PDF. For those applicants, you may want to offer the option of printing out the application and filling it out by hand.

2. Legibility

Advantage: Online Rental Application

Online Rental Application

Getting an application filled out online will be infinitely easier to read than most paper rental applications. The truth is that most people have poor handwriting and you can’t afford to make any mistakes if you need to decipher chicken-scratch. Sticking with an online rental application means you will always be able to read all information.

Rental Application PDF

When applicants fill out their rental application by hand and send it back to you, there’s a real chance that you can misinterpret the information you use to make your decision. Either that, or you will have to go back to the applicant in order to clarify what was written. That can be a real time-waster.

3. Completeness

Advantage: Online Rental Application

Online Rental Application

The advantage of getting an online rental application form with RentSpree is that RentSpree will always require all critical fields to be filled out. That means you will spend less time going back and forth trying to get all of the information you need.

Rental Application PDF

When applicants fill out rental application templates by hand, they are much more likely to leave off information that may not be readily available. Your options are to spend more time trying to collect the missing information or simply go off the information you have. Neither option is ideal.

4. Speed

Advantage: Online Rental Application

Online Rental Application

Applicants who use RentSpree’s online rental application form can apply from anywhere using any device. In addition, RentSpree also incorporates the tenant screening process so you can save even more time by receiving tenant screening reports at the same time you get back a completed rental application.

Rental Application PDF

When you send applicants a rental application PDF to fill out, it becomes a multi-step process. Printing out the form, filling it out, scanning it, uploading it, and finally emailing it back to you. For this reason, the average turnaround time to get a rental application PDF back is much longer.

5. Tenant Screening

Advantage: Online Rental Application

Online Rental Application

Don’t forget that the next step after collecting a rental application form is to run tenant screening reports. Using an online process allows you to seamlessly transition from the rental application to accessing screening reports. For example, RentSpree allows you to receive everything back at once that you’d need to complete the screening process.

Rental Application PDF

When you collect a paper rental application PDF, you will still need to take additional steps if you want to access screening reports. This can end up costing you even more time. You may need to get the applicant’s authorization and fax that separately to another tenant screening company, turning your entire screening process into multi-day saga.


Regardless of which method you choose to collect a free rental application form from each applicant, the important thing is that you’re collecting the information you need. For most people, it is best to utilize an online rental application because there are many benefits that greatly outweigh a paper-based process. However, you still might want to offer a paper rental application template for applicants who are not tech-savvy or have no way of getting internet access.

Click here to go to digital: Collect online rental application

Click here to get your free fillable rental application PDF: Get a Free Rental Application PDF

Free Rental Application Template

Continue to Chapter 6: Rental Application Denial Letter or, jump to a different article.

  1. Rental Application 101
  2. How To Read a Rental Application
  3. Identifying Red Flags on a Rental Application
  4. 5 Common Problems with Lease Applications
  5. Free Rental Application Form
  6. Denying Rental Applicants
  7. Fair Housing Act