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The Importance of Reading Rental Criteria

Reading the apartment’s rental criteria could save you hundreds of dollars in application fee loss. In Texas, ALL apartments are required by state law to give you their qualifying rental criteria BEFORE you apply. Read it carefully if you don't meet the criteria, you are at risk of application denial. The reason for this law is so that people know if they have a fair chance of application approval BEFORE spending money on non-refundable application fees.

The rental criteria also known as “tenant selection criteria” states the grounds for which the rental application may be denied, such as:

  • Income Requirement

  • Occupancy Limits

  • Criminal History

  • Previous Rental History

  • Credit History

  • Length of Employment

  • Failure to provide accurate or complete information on the application form.

In fact, if an apartment does not give you the rental criteria and you apply, and the application is denied they are required to give you back the application fee/application deposit. Here is a link to the property code.


Typically, right before you apply. Many times, the rental criteria is made available at the beginning of an online application BEFORE you pay the application fee. Many people don’t read it; they simply select the checkbox that says, “I have read the rental criteria”, or “I agree” and continue to the next page. READ IT! You may not believe there is any reason your application could be denied. For example, say you have a minor trespassing misdemeanor from 5 years ago. The apartment may require misdemeanors to be OVER 7 years old and may only consider applicants with certain convictions. Or perhaps you paid late at your previous apartment four times in a 12-month period. The apartment may only allow TWO previous late pays in a 12-month period. Apartment rental criteria vary by apartment - it is not all the same.


The short answer is you are at risk of application denial. However, there are some properties that will approve an applicant that does not meet something specific on the criteria but meets all other criteria. This is known as an “approval with conditions” the condition is usually to pay a risk fee or higher deposit. They typically will not waiver from their criminal provision. I see “approval with conditions” when someone has poor credit, but they have good rental history and meet everything else. Or when the income requirement is 3 times the rent and the applicant is like $50-$75 short per month of meeting that. If you feel you don’t meet something on the criteria, ASK the leasing staff if they have seen other applicants in your situation be approved with a higher deposit.


Our goal is not only to make your search for an apartment EASY; we also do our best to reduce the chance of application denial and app fee loss. However, we can’t guarantee application approval. There are certain factors such as debt to income ratio and credit scoring platforms that can't be evaluated before you apply. If you know you have issues that could affect application approval like broken lease, eviction, background issues, etc, you may still be able to lease at an apartment offering second chance leasing.

Need help finding your next apartment? We would love to assist you! Start your apartment search today!


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