Why You Should Use an Online Rental Application

by Candace Smith | Updated: Feb 4, 2021

For any landlord or property manager, deciding how to handle rental applications is an essential decision for your business. If the application is online, prospective renters can easily apply to your properties, allowing you to quickly review their information. The less time you spend reviewing rental applications, the quicker you’ll find renters to fill your vacant units.

The benefits of an online rental application

There are obvious reasons why online rental applications are better than paper ones, such as decreasing the clutter in your office and ultimately helping you stay better organized. It's also the more environmentally friendly option, and for many, the preferred method of completing any type of “paperwork” in the modern world. Also, given the current pandemic, it’s the safest way for you and prospective renters to exchange information while practicing social distancing.

We’ve explored additional advantages of using an online rental application below.


Happy young woman with tablet laying on sofa filling out an online rental application.

Filling out a form by hand can take a fair amount of time, including the additional time spent faxing, emailing or physically dropping it off. Allowing prospective renters to complete the application online saves them both time and energy.

Inconveniences when applying to properties, such as having to fill out application forms by hand and not being able to submit them instantly, will likely result in a smaller pool of applicants. Saving renters from these inconveniences with an online rental application means you'll likely have more applicants to choose from and will have a better chance at finding a qualified tenant when your next vacancy comes around.

Screen tenants instantly

When a landlord or property manager uses Rentals.com’s free online rental application, they also have the option to take advantage of our free screening reports. These include a full credit report and score, criminal background check and nationwide eviction report. We also provide identity verification for both online applications and screening reports.

Pet screening

Woman playing with dog in home office while completing an online rental application.

If you decide to allow your tenants to have pets, implementing a pet screening process and pet application is key. Our online application has a section for renters to provide necessary information regarding their pets so landlords and property managers can assess accordingly. 

Approve and deny applications instantly

Once you’ve reviewed all the applicant’s information, you’ll need to decide if they’re approved or denied. Some software allow you to approve or deny applications instantly at any point during this process, saving you time by eliminating the need to draft a letter or email. You’ll then be able to quickly move on to the next applicant, and the prospective renter will know their status quickly so they can continue their search if needed.

Can reduce bias

As we all know, the Fair Housing Act has strict rules when it comes to interviewing and screening potential tenants. Even unintentional, small differences in how various applicants are treated throughout the process can become an issue. Using an online rental application ensures all applicants are asked the same questions, regardless of race, gender, disability, etc. Ultimately, it lowers the likelihood of accidentally introducing any bias into the tenant vetting process.

Ensures applications are complete

A good online application program will flag any potential issues to landlords, such as incorrect information or an incomplete application when a prospective tenant tries to submit it. An even better one will require renters to complete all of the mandatory fields within an online rental application before they can submit it to the landlord or property management company.

With certain software, you can require that applicants submit additional documentation with their application, such as proof of employment and a license ID. This helps ensure landlords and property managers have all of the necessary information to make an informed decision and won't need to track the prospective tenant down for additional information. Also, when a prospective renter submits payment for the application fee, a flag can be raised if the card information doesn’t match the renter’s card information on the application.

Available to access anywhere

Smiling young woman sitting on a bench outdoors reading on a tablet.

As long as you have an internet connection, you'll be able to review completed online applications after prospective renters submit them. The need to make copies of a physical rental application in case you lose the original paperwork is no longer relevant. This is good for both you and the environment. Additionally, with our online application, renters can complete it from a mobile device, desktop or tablet, and landlords and property managers can review completed applications from their preferred device as well. 

Fill your next vacancy using an online rental application

Implementing online rental applications will help you fill your next vacancy faster while also offering several additional advantages. If you're looking for one to use, consider our free online application offering.

Categories: Landlords

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