Application question regarding sections left blank.

6 Replies

Hello, if a potential renter has filled out only a portion of the application and has left important information, such as SS, reasons for being convicted, previous employers, no personal references and gross income blank, Can we request for them to resubmit the application with all fields filled out? Thank you, any information is appreciated as I am new to being landlord in the San Bernardino County.

You absolutely should request them to fill it out completely. Those boxes are not there for decoration - but they know this.

There is nothing wrong in telling them that unless they fill it out completely, you will no longer consider them for becoming your tenants.

Just make sure to keep the incomplete app for your records - to protect yourself. And make sure that you apply same rules to all applicants.

Thank for taking the time to reply, and providing me with this information. I just wasn’t sure if there were any laws about being able to ask them to fill it out completely.

No problem. Happy to help. The questions you listed as them having left blank sound like they are questions from a typical rental application - like you did not make one up yourself, where you ask them for the name of their first lover, or how many push-ups they can do in a minute. So, you are good there.

In essence, you must think of yourself as a creditor - the law sees you that way; it is on your side. Just make sure that you do everything the same (legal) way with all applicants.

They know the game. I may have had a slightly different response if all they left out was the SSN.

But what these applicants left out was too significant, especially in aggregate. You should ask them to complete it to be fair. Personally, I don’t expect them to either answer honestly at that point, or be able to pass credit/background check, which you should perform - but only after you have a complete application.

I would probably just refuse the application due to the application being incomplete. Perhaps I am too suspicious but I would assume they are hiding something.

Often when potential tenants fail to complete an application there's a reason they do so.  For example, some fail to include their social security number fearing it will be "stolen"; however, if you are running a screening on them you typically need this.

If they fail to provide income criteria it's because they already know they don't meet your income requirements (IF you have listed this on your ads).

I've had some fail to address the part that asks if they've ever been evicted.  This is because they have and figure if they don't address this, they aren't "lying", they just "skipped" this part.  On the other hand, I've had a bunch answer "no" when in fact, they have a long history of evictions (I check with our online Marshall's Service).

In the past I used to return the application and ask them to complete it.

Now, I'm old and cranky.  The application states an incomplete one is grounds for automatic rejection.   I just send it back with a notice that they don't meet the criteria because of this.


I inform all potential applicants that they are required to fill in the application completely. They are told up front that any missing information will result in their application being rejected.

I have received applications not completed fully and immediately call to inform them their application has been rejected. 

Usually it is items such as SS# in which case I know they have the type of personality I do not want to deal with as a landlord. Any tenant/applicant with security/privacy issues is going to make for a high maintenance tenant.

I have far more important things to do with my time than chase after applicants that are intentionally jerking my chain.

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