Is there a deadline to make a decision about a tenant’s rental application?

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09/02/2016 | Author: TAR Legal Staff

I received a rental application for a property I manage and presented it to the owner. He wants to wait before deciding on this applicant to see if a better match to the tenant-selection criteria comes along. How long does the landlord have to make a decision on this prospective tenant’s application?

In this situation, the landlord has seven days to make a decision on a rental application; otherwise, the applicant is deemed rejected and any application deposit should be refunded, although the application fee is generally nonrefundable.

According to the Texas Property Code, if the landlord provided an application form, the seven-day period begins on the date the applicant submits the completed form. If the landlord did not provide an application form, the seven-day period begins on the date the property owner accepts an application deposit from the applicant.

Remember, when an applicant is provided with a rental application, the landlord is required to make printed notice of the landlord’s tenant-selection criteria available to the applicant. If the applicant was rejected and the landlord failed to make the criteria available, the application fee and any application deposit must be returned.

The Texas Association of REALTORS® has developed a model tenant-selection criteria form for members’ use.

Categories: Legal, Landlords, Renters
Tags: legal, legal faq, property management


Brenda on 09/08/2016

In all situations where disagreement can easily occur, it’s just wiser to put important agreements in writing. You are much safer having them sign your rental criteria and submitting it with your application. I include my brokerage’s criteria with my app packet with a designated space for the applicant(s) to sign. Our criteria also spells out what happens to their application deposit should they choose NOT to move into a property once accepted. Having them do this eliminates those that are not serious and want to tie up your place and waste your time. If they know their deposit may be forfeit applicants tend to take the application/rental process much more seriously.

Barbara Russell on 09/02/2016

Must you give criteria in writing if:  you verbalize the criteria and or they do not request it?

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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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