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A Brief Guide on Tenant Screening Laws in Texas

A Brief Guide on Tenant Screening Laws in Texas

Have you ever heard that close to 44 million households in America rent?

A major aspect of renting is tenant screening. It helps landlords make informed decisions. They can also mitigate any potential risks associated with renting their property.

In Texas, there are specific guidelines that govern tenant screening. Understanding these laws is crucial to avoid legal pitfalls. Read on for the complete breakdown.

Applications and Tenant Background Checks

Before renting out a property, landlords often require rental applications. These applications often include personal information, employment history, and references. They also request consent for conducting a background check.

Landlords in Texas must get written consent. Without this, landlords will be going against Texas law.

Fair Housing Laws

Tenant screening must adhere to federal and state fair housing laws. No landlord can discriminate based on sex, religion, race, and other factors.

Landlords should apply the same screening criteria to all applicants. This will help them avoid any discriminatory practices. Discriminating could result in legal consequences.

Criminal Background Checks

Texas tenant screening laws allow landlords to consider an applicant's criminal history. Landlords should still follow certain guidelines, though. They should learn about the types of offenses and how far back they can go when considering criminal records.

They should focus on offenses that directly relate to safety. The property and other tenants need to be secure.

Credit Checks

Landlords often conduct credit checks. They can assess a prospective tenant's financial responsibility.

Texas tenant law allows landlords to consider an applicant's credit history. Learning more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act can help guide landlords.

Eviction History

Landlords can also consider an applicant's eviction history. They must verify that the information is accurate and up-to-date, though.

Rejecting an applicant based on incorrect or outdated eviction records can lead to legal complications. Landlords should verify eviction records through reliable sources.

Common Tenant Screening Mistakes to Avoid

Conducting tenant screenings can be a tricky process. Landlords must be mindful of common mistakes. Avoiding the following will keep their business compliant with Texas tenant law:

Discriminatory Practices

No one can discriminate against applicants based on protected characteristics. Treat all applicants fairly throughout the screening process.

Inadequate Documentation

Keep detailed records of the screening process. This should include rental applications, consent forms, and other relevant documents. This documentation can help protect landlords in case of legal disputes.

Failing to Obtain Consent

Always obtain written consent from the applicant. Landlords must do this before looking into applicants. Failure to obtain consent can lead to legal repercussions.

Only Relying on Screening Reports

Tenant screening reports can provide valuable information. Landlords should consider other factors, though. Employment history and references matter as well.

Did You Know These Tenant Screening Laws in Texas?

Landlords in Texas must navigate tenant screening laws. Doing this helps them run a fulfilling business.

Do you want to dodge the stress of tenant screening? Austin Property Management can take care of everything. Contact us so we can discuss our property management services.