Do this before you accept tenant applications

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12/17/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Before you start screening potential tenants, you should take certain steps to comply with the law.

The Texas Property Code requires that a landlord make available to an applicant a notice containing the tenant-selection criteria and a list of reasons for which an application may be denied. The tenant-selection criteria may include the applicant’s criminal history, previous rental history, current income, or credit history—any of which may be grounds for rejection if a negative outcome is found. If the landlord doesn’t make this notice available and rejects an applicant, the landlord must return the application fee and any application deposit. TAR’s Model Tenant-Selection Criteria Form satisfies this Texas Property Code requirement. If you are managing a property on behalf of the property owner, you should talk with your client before adopting this form.

If using the Residential Lease Application (TAR 2003), which requires applicants to provide Social Security numbers, you must have a privacy policy in place and must make the policy available to prospective tenants upon request. The Texas Association of REALTORS® offers a Model Privacy Policy that can be used to comply with state and federal requirements.

Categories: Property Management, Legal
Tags: legal, property management, leasing, renters


Jaime Lee on 12/21/2015

@Steve: TAR only offers model policies as PDFs, not Word files.

Our Legal Department presented a webinar about using model policies, and the webinar materials are posted on this page:

You can also call the TAR Legal Hotline at 800-973-8155 to speak with a TAR attorney for more information.

-Jaime Lee, TAR staff

Steve on 12/17/2015

Where can we find the softcopy of the privacy policy? The link for that is a pdf. We’d like to modify it for our use so we’d like the Word version like you have provided for the selection criteria.

Kevin on 12/17/2015

Where do we ” make this available” for the tenant?  On the listing?

Tom Morgan on 12/17/2015

Excellent reminder of the importance of complying with these property management laws.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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