To process a rental application means to verify all of the information the applicant wrote on your application. Question all items written on the rental application. You may receive different answers from what the applicant wrote on paper. The candidates’ answers could vary from the application. There could be responses that make perfect sense; to those that sound as if they were made up from a dream the applicant had one night.

The main point is that you have the right to verify, confirm, question or challenge information provided to you on the rental application and by the rental applicant. You have the right to accept or reject an applicant based on what has been written, alleged to be true, said, or observed. If what they wrote is different from what you have verified, this could be that he or she is a risky rental applicant.

Make every applicant play by your rules. Keep control over the rental application process. Watch the applicant who brings a relative with him or her to complete the application. Observe which person takes control of the process from the applicant’s end. For example, if an aunt is doing most of the paperwork and most of the communicating, take extra precautions with the applicant. She may be trying to get her niece or nephew an apartment for a specific reason.

A landlord rented a one bedroom apartment to a man with a very diligent aunt. She brought her nephew with her, and filled out most of the information. She was personable, talkative, and very interested in the entire application process. The landlord mistook her extreme interest in the verification process for good family concern. The landlord asked why her nephew could not contribute to his own application process. She replied that he was ‘slow’, and needed help. He did appear to need assistance. He was quiet and cooperative with the aunt and the landlord. Both the aunt and the rental applicant appeared eager to do whatever was needed to obtain an apartment for the nephew.

Because the landlord had a ‘good feeling’ about the two people, he only processed a few items on the application. Because he was living with his aunt and she was such a nice person, he didn’t bother checking out previous landlords. What convinced him to rent the apartment was the aunt’s statement that the nephew was her guardian. She would ensure that the rent was paid every month from his social security check.

It turned out that the nephew, who was living with his aunt at the time, had been evicted from several apartments, always ending up at her apartment. She had arranged to have the nephew move out of every former unit voluntarily, on his own, so there was no eviction record in court or on his credit report for owing rent. Nothing about previous evictions was given or asked. The aunt had all of his paperwork in order, and so the landlord thought, here is a good applicant, with strong family back up for support.

Wrong! The minute the nephew moved in, the aunt paid the rent and security deposit, and disappeared. The rent was paid on time every month. However, the nephew allowed every ne’er-do-well in his apartment. Late and loud parties, loose women, and drug and alcohol abuse went on nonstop. Appeals to the aunt went unheeded, and the landlord ended up in eviction court. The aunt returned, moved out her nephew, again, before the court process could be completed.