A Tenant Release and Consent Form is a legal document landlords use when requesting access to a prospective tenant’s information from a third party. The form includes the tenant’s name, address, and contact information. This form is used whenever the landlord needs to request the tenant’s personal background information, such as credit reports and history from former landlords or current employers. It is essential that the tenant sign this form to approve the release of their personal information. Using a professionally designed Tenant Release and Consent Form template can help you create an excellent document to help you make better-informed decisions about who you should offer a lease to.
What Is a Tenant Release and Consent Form?
A Tenant Release and Consent Form for a background check is a document that allows landlords to run background checks on potential tenants. It serves as a legal agreement between the landlord and the tenant that grants the landlord the right to access certain information about the tenant, such as their criminal history, credit history, and rental history. The form typically requires the tenant to provide written consent for the background check and any other information requested by the landlord. This form is an integral part of the landlord-tenant relationship; it helps protect both parties by ensuring that all necessary information is disclosed so that both parties can make informed decisions.
Why is a Tenant Release and Consent Form Important
A Tenant Release and Consent Form is essential for tenants and landlords. It allows the tenants to authorize their landlords to obtain personal information about them. This information can include the tenant’s credit history, background checks, and other financial records. This vital document lets the landlord verify the tenant’s identity, financial stability, and rental history, which helps them make informed decisions on who to rent to. This form also gives the landlord permission to contact former landlords or employers to verify information provided by the tenant. The document also allows the landlord to obtain a copy of the tenant’s credit report and criminal record.
Essential Elements of a Tenant Release and Consent Form
The essential elements of a tenant release and consent form include an authorization statement, the scope of the data it may be used to collect, including what groups or individuals you may contact, the conditions, also known as an assent statement, and information about the prospective tenants. We’ve provided an outline below detailing this document’s segments and their purpose.
- Business Logo or Name- This shows who is issuing the form and helps create brand continuity for your business.
- Form Title- The title clearly indicates what the form is and its intended purpose in large bold print.
- (Optional) Prospective Tenant(s) Name(s)- Having prospective tenants print their full legal names at the top of the form makes it easier to see whose form this is, which is especially useful if you rent multiple units or properties.
- (Optional) Prospective Tenant(s) Contact Information- Contact information includes a current address, email, and telephone number.
- Authorization Statement- This statement says that the prospective tenant(s) consent to release their information to you without liability for the purpose of the rental application.
- Scope- The scope covers why you need this information and what information you may request, such as employment history, rental history, identity, and other vital facts.
- Who You Can Contact- List the groups or individuals to contact to obtain the information. Doing this tells the prospective tenants what to expect.
- Assent Statement- The assent statement says the prospective tenants agree to allow you to use this form or photocopies to collect the information described above.
- Head of Household Signature and Date Lines- Signatures are what make a document into a legal form.
- Spouse Signature and Date Lines- Spouses and other adult (18+) household members should also provide consent. Having them all sign a single form helps declutter your physical paperwork files and keeps all the information for one household in the same place.
- Other Adult Household Member Signature and Date Lines- Adult household members can be family, like parents, siblings, or even adult children, or they can be friends and roommates.
Pro Tip: Although there’s no rule stating that tenants cannot request a copy of their release and consent form, typically, only landlords keep a copy of these documents. That said, if the tenant wants to keep a copy in their records, there is no practical reason to refuse.
Important Note on the Limitation of Tenant Release and Consent Forms
Although this document gives a landlord access to a wide array of personal background information, there is one thing it does not do. You cannot use this document to request a copy of the prospective tenant’s tax returns. To do that, where applicable, you must get separate consent and file IRS form 4506, the “Request For Copy of Tax Form.”
How to Use a Tenant Release and Consent Form
Using your tenant release consent form is very straightforward. All you need is a computer, any compatible writing program, and some basic data to include on the form. Follow the steps below, and you’ll have an outstanding document in no time.
- Create the form using the template here and the steps outlined in the next section.
- Hand the documents out to prospective tenants.
- Ensure they have read and understood the consent form.
- Collect the signed copy.
- Review their rental history, credit, and other important background information.
- Determine whether you will rent to them.
- Keep the form in your files regardless of the decision you made.
Fun Fact: Landlords aren’t the only ones who use Tenant Release and Consent Forms. Production companies often need these documents when they are filming in residential areas.
How to Use a Tenant Release and Consent Form Template
Making a document from your Tenant Release and Consent Form template is simple. Here are the steps:
- Download the template. This can be done by clicking the download button and saving the file on your computer.
- Collect the information you need, such as your business logo and other relevant info to include.
- Open it in a compatible writing program like MS Word.
- Make a copy of the base template to save as-is for future use.
- Add all your information in the areas provided.
- Include any additional information required in your area.
- Save a copy online or on a hard drive.
- (Optional) have a lawyer review your form to ensure it is up-to-date and contains all the relevant and required information.
- Print as many copies as you need to hand out to prospective tenants.
- Update your document annually so it remains current.
Creating legally binding documents can be frustrating and confusing. To help you, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic below. Here you will learn how long to keep a Tenant Release and Consent Form, landlord liability, whether the tenant can revoke their consent, and many other vital facts. We recommend bookmarking this page for easy reference.
A Tenant Release and Consent Form should be signed by all adult members of the prospective tenant’s household. The form provides consent for the landlord to collect relevant background information on all adult household members. All parties must understand the terms of the agreement before signing the document.
A Tenant Release and Consent Form is a legal document required when a tenant requests or is asked to release personal information about their background and finances to a third party, typically a landlord. This document acts as a way for the tenant to provide their written consent before releasing any personal information. Tenants must sign this form before the landlord can collect the requested information.
A tenant can revoke their consent after signing the Tenant Release and Consent Form only before the background check has been performed. The tenant must notify the landlord or property manager in writing they are withdrawing their consent. The landlord or property manager must then cease any activities authorized by the Tenant Release and Consent Form. It is important to note that the tenant may be liable for any damages caused by their revocation of consent. Additionally, the laws vary from state to state, so this may not be the case everywhere. If you are uncertain about your rights or obligations, please consult an attorney.
Yes, a landlord can be held liable even if the tenant signs a Tenant Release and Consent Form. The form is intended to protect the landlord from liability for specific actions but does not necessarily absolve the landlord of all responsibility. In some cases, the tenant may still be able to hold the landlord liable for damages or other losses resulting from the landlord’s negligence, misuse, or other wrongful acts. Additionally, if the form is found to be invalid or unenforceable, the tenant may still sue.
If a landlord or property manager does not have a Tenant Release and Consent Form, they are at risk of not having proper documentation in the event of a dispute with a tenant. With this form, the landlord or property manager should be able to show that the tenant agreed to certain conditions and was informed about how the document would be used. Unfortunately, without it, proving they had consent in court may be challenging or even impossible if the tenant files a lawsuit.
When a tenant refuses to sign a Tenant Release and Consent Form, the landlord should take the following steps:
ᐅ Talk to the tenant and try to understand the reasons for their refusal. The landlord needs to understand why the tenant is refusing to sign the form.
ᐅ Explain to the tenant why it is essential for them to sign the document for the landlord to process their rental agreement. The landlord should ensure that the tenant is fully informed of their rights and obligations.
ᐅ Do not rent to tenants who refuse to sign a release.
ᐅ If necessary, seek legal advice from a qualified attorney in your area. Usually, this is a last resort when implementing a new policy that requires existing tenants to sign a release where the prior policy did not include background checks. However, you are always entitled to counsel from an attorney.
A landlord should keep a Tenant Release and Consent Form on file for as long as the tenant lives in the rental property and for 3-7 years afterward. This form should be kept in the tenant’s file, along with any other important documents related to the tenancy, such as the lease agreement. After the tenant moves out, the landlord should keep the form on file for at least three to seven years for tax and legal reasons. This is to ensure that the landlord records any agreements or consents made between them and the tenant during the tenancy period.
The laws and obligations of landlords and tenants vary widely from state to state, and it is vital for you to ensure your knowledge is current for your area. The information presented in this article and template is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to research and understand their local laws and how those laws apply to their rental business.
Landlords need to use a Tenant Release and Consent Form to ensure that they comply with all applicable privacy laws and protect their interests. The form allows landlords to obtain information from tenants legally and securely, including full disclosure of any financial obligations or commitments that the tenant may have. It also enables landlords to verify the tenant’s identity and collect any additional information they may need, such as proof of income or rental history. Additionally, landlords can use this form to provide tenants with any relevant terms and conditions associated with their tenancy. Doing this can help prevent confusion or disputes later. A professionally designed Tenant Release and Consent Form template can help you quickly create a high-quality document containing all the necessary information for prospective tenants to consent to background checks.