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 general, there is not a specific timeline in which a property owner must make a decision to accept or reject an applicant. In this situation, however, the landlord has seven days to make a decision on a rental application; otherwise, the applicant is deemed rejected per the Texas Property Code 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 REALTORS® has developed a model tenant-selection criteria form and the Residential Lease Application (TXR 2003) for members’ use.