When seeking tenants, landlords often have a number of qualifying factors to consider. However, there are certain legal reasons why a rental application can be rejected. It is important to understand that you must have a valid reason in order to deny an application. The Fair Housing Laws do have several laws to protect tenants from being rejected based on gender, age, and race. Here are some of the reasons why you could legally deny a renter application.

Income Problems

One of the biggest issues you can clearly see is when a tenant cannot afford to live in your complex. You have a valid reason to deny an applicant if you find that they do not have enough money to cover the costs of rent. Normally it’s best to do a background check that includes information about their credit history.

Applicants that have income that you are unable to verify or those that will not provide employer information are those to avoid. You can legally reject an applicant if they will not disclose their income, and they won’t give you contact information for their employer. Proof of income could be a W-2, paystub, or an offer letter and start date.


When you are evaluating people for the property, ask them if they smoke on the application or during an interview. Smoking is considered a health concern for other tenants, and it is a fire hazard. Property damage is another concern about smoking, therefore, you can deny the person’s application based on them smoking.


Another concern that property owners face is dealing with pets. Some landlords do not mind pets, while others understand how difficult it can be to deal with animals. Pets bring along allergy problems, noise issues, and more. It is important to make sure that you have a very clear pet policy and you abide by it.

Service animals are a completely different element when dealing with property. Service animals fall under different rules in different states, and certain states talk about differences between the size of the breed. Emotional support animals have a different classification than the tenants with physical and mental disabilities.

Convicted of a Crime

Tenants can be rejected from a property if they have had criminal history (this law does vary by state). Certain crimes are more concerning to others. Some of the crimes to be worried about include theft, vandalism, trespassing, assault, felonies, and arson. Liability occurs to a landlord if a crime occurs on your property and you are sued to renting to a person with that past history. Local laws to vary on applicant rejection based on crime, so you must take the time to understand these laws.

No Rental History

Failure to have rental history can lead to a high risk for a landlord. You are allowed to deny someone to rent if they do not have a history. Sometimes this occurs due to a person always living at home with their parents, or in a dorm. If they do not have rental history, make sure you are doing all the other checks on their application to gain a better understanding of this individual.

There are numerous reasons why a landlord can reject an application for rent based on several other situations, these are just some of the most common we come across at Keyrenter in San Antonio. For additional information on rental applications, contact Keyrenter today.