I noticed a little tidbit about a new requirement for property managers and landlords in Texas: you need to be able to provide to perspective tenants a set of criteria that you use to choose who will be your future tenant. I was trying to find the exact Property Code that deals with this issue, but I could not find it. I did discover that the rental application form used by Realtors created by TAR has a line referring to this form.
Real estate investors that I work with are not using property managers or Realtors to help them deal with these properties, so I thought I would go over this idea with you to make you aware of your responsibilities. The criteria form needs to be typed with clear definitions of what you will consider to be an acceptable client, or what might cause you to decide to not to rent to a potential tenant. Your selection process may include factors like a tenant’s criminal history, credit history, current income and rental history. Spell out clearly what your concerns are. For example, you may not want sex offenders at all, but what if a drug conviction is acceptable if the tenant can show that he successfully completed rehab? You have to consider the details which may cause you to have an exception.
On your application form, you should have a statement informing the possible tenant of their right to see this list. The statement is simple: state that this form is available upon request, and generalize what may be in the criteria (like the factors for the selection process mentioned above).
If you are unsure of your criteria list or the statement on the application, it may be worth it to consult a real estate attorney. The best prevention for loosing a law suit is to do everything properly when dealing with tenants and applicants. In that case, a lawyer can be worth it.