A Tennessee Lease or Rental Application is a form used by Tennessee landlords to screen and vet potential tenants to determine whether they are reliable and able to pay rent in a timely manner.
A standard Rental/Lease Application provides a landlord with the opportunity to screen for any red flags a tenant may raise, ranging from credit history to past employment references.
Tennessee Rental Application Statistic/Specifics
According to the 2014 Tennessee Human Rights Commission report, disability and race have been the top reasons for landlord and seller discrimination in the state of Tennessee, accounting for more than 50% of all cases.
Tennessee imposes/requires unique requirements on landlords screening potential/future tenants and tenant’s rights under the screening process. For example, Tennessee Statutes provides for the following:
- The Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act only applies to counties having a population of seventy-five thousand (75,000) or more, and does not apply to commercial property.
- Make sure your county is covered in the scope of the act.
- For parties not located in one of the provided for counties, the terms of your future lease agreement will govern the rights and obligations of both parties.
If a landlord fails to sign the written rental agreement and accepts rent without hesitation, a month-to-month tenancy will arise.
Landlords may obtain a state only background check at $29, and $50 for a nationwide background check.
The Tennessee Housing Rights Act does not offer protection from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- There is no limit as to the amount a landlord may require as an application fee.
- Landlords should use the application fee to supplement the costs of a tenant background check.
- Application fees must be reasonable.
Timeframe to File Complaint
Tenants and housing applicants may file a housing discrimination complaint up to 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act.
There is no set timeframe for a government investigation into the discriminatory act, but the Tennessee government website states investigations may take up to six (6) months.
Landlords may establish reasonable, minimum income criterion necessary for applicants to afford the unit, but must apply the amount uniformly to all applicants.
Regardless of your state, the Fair Housing Act provides uniform protection for all renters and buyers from seller and landlord discrimination. The act protects buyers and renters from discrimination based on:
- Color of skin
- National origin
- Familial status
Landlords are permitted to search and investigate specific objective criteria to determine whether tenants are trustworthy, reliable, and able to pay rent. Landlords are legally permitted to investigate:
- Criminal history
- Sex offender registry
- Past rental, housing, and eviction history
- Proof of income and salary details
- Credit history
- Past and current employer’s contact information
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) and the subsequent 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act lay out a framework for credit inquiry and reporting by landlords and sellers. They both require a landlord to:
Written, oral, or electronic notice of any negative or adverse action taken by a landlord after evaluating a tenant screening report.
Consumer Report Details
The name, number, and address of the consumer reporting agency that issued the credit report to the landlord. A landlord must also disclose the contents of the report, including the numerical credit score and information (score range, score date, score factors) for the applicant to review.
Copy and Opportunity to Dispute
A landlord must provide the applying tenant with a copy of the screening report, and a chance to dispute the completeness and accuracy of the report.