The Rental Application Process

rental application on ipad

It seems that looking at rental applications from different Mesa property management companies is kind of like looking at snowflakes. Each one is unique with no two alike. It can be a frustrating process both as an applicant or as the showing real estate agent. Here are the basic elements of applying for a lease.


Completing the Mesa property management company’s form is your first step. While there is no standardized form, the information requested is generally the same.  Our property management company, as well as some others in the Mesa area, also publishes our applicant criteria so that each applicant knows the minimum acceptable standards.

  • Personally identifying information
  • Residential history
  • Work history
  • Financial information
  • Background information

Most property management companies in Mesa will also require some form of identification, such as a clear copy of a driver’s license and/or social security card. Copies of recent pay statements are pretty standard, too. A rental application is not considered received until every required item is received from all applicants, including the application fee. All prospective tenants who are the age of 18 or older must complete an application.

Application Fee

Property management companies in Mesa will charge an application fee for each rental applicant. Fees range from $35 to as much as $75 per applicant. The fees cover the expense and time of processing an application, including

  • Credit check
  • Residential history/eviction check
  • Criminal history check
  • Sexual offender check
  • Verification of social security number
  • Employment check

In some cases, the Mesa property management company will also require the applicant to submit earnest money with application fee. Much like earnest money for a residential purchase, the purpose of these funds are to bond a financial commitment from the applicant in anticipation of an acceptance. In other words, the property management company doesn’t want to go through the application process then to have the applicant walk away after they are accepted.

Decision to Lease

The rental application process can take anywhere from one to three business days. Once the research has concluded the property management company will then contact the owner to review the applicant information. The landlord will make the final decision whether or not to rent to the applicant.

The final decision will be one of three answers:

  • Acceptance – The applicant is accepted and offered the opportunity to sign the lease agreement.
  • Conditional acceptance – The applicant is deemed to be a higher risk tenant, such as high income but poor credit score or misdemeanor criminal record. The opportunity to sign the lease is offered under the condition of a higher security deposit (up to one and a half times the monthly lease amount).
  • Rejection – The applicant does not meet one or more of the established criteria.

Signing the Lease

Property management companies in Mesa seem to have two schools of thought on when to sign the lease. Property management companies who collect up-front earnest funds may delay signing the lease with the tenant until a few days prior to the occupancy. Other property management companies in Mesa, including Casteel Real Estate Professionals, don’t collect earnest money, but require the applicant to sign the lease within one business day of acceptance. All deposits are then due at the time of signing.

As you can see there is no industry-standard process, but the activities of each property management company are generally the same. If you are thinking of applying for a lease, be sure to review the application process online at the property management company’s website. If it’s not clearly posted, give them a call before submitting your application or any funds. You want to know how they conduct business before you start working with them.