Ideally the listing agent will post the landlord's criteria which will help you determine ahead of time if there is something listed that might prevent or deter you from even making application.
Our policy is to make the owner's criteria available asap and then once an application and fee is submitted we may ask the owner to review the application before actually expensing the credit/background check - we also only process one application at a time. The application is only completely processed (credit check/etc) once we get a green light from the owner. If it's a red light - we return the funds to the applicant.
Communication is key! :)
I feel your pain. There have been many times that I have submitted an application and the property manager kept the fee and gave the house to another family. I feel this is a breach of the Code of Ethics, and if you can prove what they did, ...it should be reported to the Texas Association of Realtors in Austin.
Here's how it should work: You, the tenant, engage a Realtor to show you houses for lease. You pay them certain administrative fees for their service. There may be fees from both Real Estate offices. Some managers charge a fee per person (adults) and some of us just charge a flat fee per family. Once an application is received by a property manager (landlord), they should process that application only, and determine if the tenant is acceptable according to the landlord's policies. If another application comes in simultaneously, it should be placed "on hold" until a determination is made on the first one received. This is only fair to everybody. Property managers should not be "shopping" applications, or they at least should return the money to anyone who is not processed. But if an application is run through the system of background checks and credit checks, then the fee has been spent.
We are always pleased to see a manager who does the right thing and gives the fee back to the applicant. Many times, when I am representing a tenant, I will send or discuss the applicant's information with the manager prior to submitting the fees. If we conclude that they would not be a good fit for the landlord, then I don't submit the money to the property manager.
I represent a Tenant just like I represent a Buyer, and I think all Agents should do likewise. Tenants deserve the full attention and representation of an Agent, and Agents should be paid a higher fee than what most Landlord's are currently paying. 25% of a month's rent is not enough to pay for my gas, let alone my time and expertise! Maybe the industry needs to change, and have the Tenant pay the Realtor's commission, instead of the Landlord. I'll bet you things would change for the better.
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Hope this helps.
Don Groff | REALTORÂ® & Mortgage Broker
Austin Real Estate Pros & 360 Lending Group
o 512.669.5599 | m 512.633.4157 | firstname.lastname@example.org
websites: http://www.AustinListed.com | http://www.360LendingGroup.com