Legal FAQs for REALTORS® — Landlord-Tenant Issues
Rental Applications

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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? (updated August 30, 2016)

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.

Legal Disclaimer: 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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