Published Minimum Requirements for Lease Application Approval

1. The Broker Acknowledges No Duty or Obligation to Accept Documents from the Applicant or Third Parties Commenting on Information Currently Showing in the Applicant’s Credit/Background Report

The Applicant’s credit report, background report, or credit history (“Credit Report”) may show negative information upon which the Broker bases a decision to deny Applicant’s Application. Applicant is responsible for ensuring that Applicant’s Credit Report accurately reflects the information relative to Applicant at the time the Application is submitted. Broker cannot and will not receive or consider information contrary to or challenging negative entries on Applicant’s Credit Report, either prior to or after Broker makes a decision on Applicant’s Application and submits an Adverse Action Notice. Applicant understands that Broker will refer only to the Credit Report in reviewing Applicant’s Application and will not receive or consider documentation outside of the Credit Report. In the event Applicant disagrees with information reflected on Applicant’s Credit Report, Applicant may refer to applicable federal law regarding Applicant’s ability to challenge or correct Applicant’s Credit Report by challenging specific negative information with the Credit Reporting Agencies or prior creditors. Broker is not an attorney, is not offering legal advice, and suggests that Applicant consult with an attorney regarding Applicant’s rights to challenge negative information on the Credit Report. More information may be found here: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/disputing-errors-your-credit-reports

2. Agency Disclosure

A. Birmingham Home Leasing, hereinafter referred to as “Broker”, is the Single Agent of the Property Owner. The Broker shall serve as a Transaction Broker for the Rental Customer, assisting the Rental Customer with the Lease Application and the execution of the Lease.

B. Many of the Property Owner’s interests are reflected in the terms and conditions found below. When the interests of the Rental Customer and the Property Owner do not align, it is the legal duty of the Broker to protect the Property Owner’s interests.

3. Rental Customers and/or Applicants Who Want to Request an Exception to the Broker’s Published Policies

A. Our policy is to provide real estate leasing services in strict compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and only to Applicants who can clearly demonstrate that they qualify on the Published Minimum Requirements for Lease Application Approval. (Revised 8/2/2021)

B. Broker is authorized by Owner to deal with Applicant with regard to all aspects of the Property and the application process. To prevent confusion and to preserve the line of communication, Applicants will not have the option to communicate directly with Owner. All communications to Owner are to go through Broker in this capacity, and Broker will relay Applicant’s communications and requests after which Broker will act upon Owner’s responses. In the situation where the Applicant is requesting that the Owner grant an exception to the Broker’s published criteria and the Owner does not reply within 7 calendar days, the answer will be considered to be in the negative and the matter will be closed. (Revised 1/5/2022)

C. In the situation where the Broker forwards a request to the Owner from a Rental Customer to make an exception to published criteria for Lease Application approval, the Broker is not making an implicit or explicit affirmation that Broker will be able to agree to facilitate the exception. Broker’s policies and published criteria are important, have been developed carefully, and are applied uniformly. In the event an exception is requested by Rental Customer and permitted by Owner with which Broker disagrees, Broker reserves the right to withdraw from the relationship among Rental Customer and Owner to allow Rental Customer and Owner to reach agreement between themselves as desired. (Effective 2/27/2022)

D. The request for an exception to be granted by the Owner must be presented to the Broker in an email, which the Broker can forward to the Owner. This rule is to establish a record of the specific request for an exception and to establish the record that the Broker did convey the request to the Owner. (Effective 1/25/2023)

4. Rental Arbitrage, Sub-leasing, Assignment, etc. Strictly Prohibited.

Tenant shall not sublet, under-lease, sub-rent, sub-lease, offer rooms for rent, or otherwise take on occupants not identified in this Lease.  Tenant shall not offer any portion of the premises for a sublease by placing on the same any “to rent”, “furnished room”, “room to rent”, or similar sign or notice or by advertising the same in any newspaper, on any short-term rental website such as VRBO or AirBnB, or any place or manner whatsoever. Any arrangement listed above or any other transfer or assignment of this lease, shall be null and void at the option of the Landlord.  Tenant agrees that the breach of this provision shall be considered a material noncompliance with the terms of this lease, entitling Landlord to deliver written notice to terminate this lease pursuant to Alabama law. (Revised 11/16/2021)

5. Lease Terms for Approximately 12 Months Unless Otherwise Stated

A. The Broker writes Leases for approximate 12 month Lease terms. If the owner makes the property available for a 6 month lease it will be stated in the advertising. Requests for lease terms that exceed 12 months will be considered on a case by case basis, but in no case will a lease extend longer than approximately 18 months.

6. All Lease Signatories Must Personally Visit the Property & Approve Its Condition

All Prospective Tenants must personally visit the property and approve its condition before the Broker will prepare and present a Lease for signature. This policy applies to all Prospective Tenants, including both spouses of a married couple and individuals moving from out of town or out of state who do not want to travel to the Birmingham area to view rental properties before executing a Lease. Viewing by a third party, including a Real Estate Agent, friend, family member or viewing by video conference, will not be accepted by the Broker in lieu of personal visit by all Signatories. (Revised 2/3/2022)

7. How the Broker Presents Applications to the Owner & How a Rental Customer can Secure a Property & Take If Off the Market

The Broker will not forward an Incomplete Application to the Owner for consideration. The Rental Customer cannot put a “hold” on a property by beginning an Application. The Broker presents completed Lease Applications to the Owner in the order that they are completed, not the order that they are started. All properties remain on the market until the Rental Customer has viewed a property, obtained Application approval and requested a Lease to sign for immediate execution. Then the property status shall be changed to “pending” for no more than three business days. If the Rental Customer does not meet their three business days signing deadline, the property will go back on the market. (Revised 5/16/2022)

8. No Pre-Paid Leases

The Broker strictly prohibits the execution of a partially or full pre-paid Lease. (Revised 11/2/2021)

9. About Pending, Active and/or Recently Discharged Bankruptcies

Applicants presenting an Application while a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is pending will be automatically declined. Applicants presenting an Application with an active Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will be automatically declined. Applicants presenting an Application who have recently had a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 discharged will not automatically be declined, but must meet the minimum Lease Application approval requirements, including having a FICO® Score 8 credit score of at least the Owner’s prescribed minimum Credit Score Criteria found in the online advertising.

10. About Evictions & Repossessions

Applicants applying with evictions and/or repossessions in their history will be automatically declined by the Broker. The term “eviction” shall refer to, but not be limited to unlawful detainer, ejectment, forcible entry, etc. (Revised 7/10/2021)

11. Authorized User Policy aka “piggybacking”

When an individual is made an Authorized User on another individual’s credit card or revolving credit account their credit score may be positively affected if the Primary Cardholder has good or excellent credit. Individuals with good credit sell Authorized User access to their credit cards and revolving credit accounts commercially and the practice is sometimes referred to as “piggybacking”. The Broker is aware that piggybacking is legal, but the Broker and other lenders consider this to be a deceptive practice. When a review of the Applicant’s credit report reveals that 50% or more of the Applicant’s total credit card limit and/or revolving credit limit is supplied by being an Authorized User on another individual’s credit card(s) and/or revolving credit account(s) and that individual is not a spouse, then the Broker will automatically decline the Application and issue an Adverse Action Notice. (Revised 1/12/2022)

12. Citizen or Legal Resident

All Applicants must be legal residents of the United States. All Applicants will be asked if they are a United States Citizen, a permanent resident alien, a non-permanent resident alien, or an illegal alien. If the Applicant declares they are a permanent or non-permanent resident alien, they must provide supporting documents. If the Applicant fails to provide the required proof, then their Application will be declined. If the Applicant declares that they are an illegal alien, then their Application will be declined. (Revised 7/7/2022)

13. Three Bureau Credit Reports Required

Missing Credit Report(s): All Applicants must have a credit report with all three Bureaus. There is one exception to this rule. When one member of a married couple individually qualifies on the credit and income requirements and the other spouse does not have a report with all three Bureaus, then the Broker will use his discretion in granting an exception. Situations where the Broker would not grant an exception would include, but are not limited to lack of a three Bureau report when the Applicant is old enough to reasonably have a three Bureau report, etc. All credit scores must average to at least the Owner’s prescribed minimum Credit Score Criteria found in the online advertising.

Locked and/or Frozen Credit Report(s): All Applicants must have a credit report with all three bureaus and “unlock” and/or “unfreeze” all three bureau reports before submitting the Lease Application. The Broker will not obey any special instructions about when or how the Broker should “pull” the three bureau reports. If the Broker pulls the three bureau reports for an Applicant and does not receive all three bureaus immediately because one or more of the reports is locked or frozen or because one or more of the reports is unavailable due to insufficient data, then the Broker will issue an Adverse Action Notice to the Applicant, citing the reason for declining as presenting an “incomplete application”.

When one or more of the credit bureaus are locked or frozen, then the Adverse Action Notice that the Broker issues will advise the applicant to contact the Broker to request that the Broker instruct their report vendor to email the Applicant a link to order the transfer of the missing credit report(s) for an additional fee. The additional fees are as follows:

  • Experian: $9.60
  • TransUnion: $6.75
  • Equifax: $11.25

The Broker will not automatically instruct the report vendor to email the applicant a link. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to make the request. If the Applicant does not make the request and follow through with transferring all missing credit bureau reports to the Broker, then the status of the Application remains declined for presenting an incomplete application as indicated in the Adverse Action Notice. (Revised 11/21/2022)

14. Credit Score

Some consumer credit reports use the FICO® algorithm to compute credit scores and some do not. The majority of lenders use FICO® credit scores. Many FICO® credit scores are optimized according to specific industries. According to information found at myFICO.com, the most widely used FICO® version is Score 8, which all three Bureaus have. The Broker will “pull” the Applicant’s FICO® Score 8 credit report from all three Bureaus and average the scores. The average score must be at least the Owner’s prescribed minimum Credit Score Criteria found in the online advertising. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to know their own credit score before applying and to know if the credit score is FICO® Score 8. Applicants are advised this is a “hard rule” and exceptions will not be granted, if requested. Applicants who do not have a U.S. Credit File with a Qualifying 3 Bureau Average Credit Score will receive an Adverse Action Notice if they submit an Application. (Revised 1/16/2023)

15. Ratios

The Broker has adopted the income and debt ratios used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to approve mortgages. The rent of the subject property must be no more than 28% of the Applicant’s Monthly Gross Income. The Applicant’s total monthly debt obligations, including the rent, must be no more than 36% of the Applicant’s Monthly Gross Income. (Revised 1/23/2023)

16. Demonstrating Financial Capacity to Pay Rent

The demonstration of financial capacity to pay rent is based on the declaration and documentation of recurring income. For the purposes of this disclosure, recurring income is defined as including but not limited to: employment income, self-employment income, Social Security Benefits, required distributions from Retirement Accounts, Dividends, Alimony, Child Support, etc. Voluntary withdrawals from Retirement Accounts are NOT considered recurring income. (Revised 11/10/2022)

17. Documentation Requirements for Employed Applicants

For the purposes of this disclosure, Employed Applicants shall be defined as individuals who receive a W-2. (Revised 11/9/2022)

A. Minimum Requirements for Lease Application Approval include but are not limited to:

  1. Applicants must declare qualifying, recurring income and document their declaration.
  2. Employment income must be stable, consistent, and ongoing.
  3. Employed Applicants must provide tax returns for the most recent filing period and previous filing period. Tax filing extensions will not be accepted. If the Applicant uploads a copy of their tax returns, they must also upload proof of filing the tax returns. Alternatively, the Applicant can obtain a transcript of their tax returns from IRS.gov and upload the transcripts.
  4. Employment and income should seem likely to continue for at least 3 years after lease execution.
  5. Employed Applicants must provide their two most recent pay stubs showing their year to date gross income and itemized deductions.
  6. All income information provided by the Applicant must be verifiable through bank account transcripts transferred via the Broker’s third party vendor, Payscore.
  7. Applicants who are taking new employment must also provide their Letter of Employment stating their new annual salary.

B. Conditions that can Cause Your Lease Application to be Declined include but are not limited to:

  1. Applicants who do not declare and document qualifying, recurring income will be declined.
  2. Employment is not stable, consistent, and ongoing. Gaps in your employment history may cause your Application to be declined.
  3. Failing to provide your tax returns for the most recent filing period and previous filing period will cause your Application to be declined. Applicants who provide tax filing extensions will be declined. Applicants who do not provide proof of filing their tax returns or their IRS.gov tax transcripts will be declined.
  4. A history of income in a declining industry may cause your application to be declined.
  5. Providing pay stubs or any payment documentation that does not include year to date gross income and itemized deductions may cause your Application to be declined.
  6. The Broker will not accept employment income information from mobile payment services such as Google Pay, Cash App, Venmo, Apple Pay, etc. Rental Customers who refuse to document their employment income through Payscore will be declined for presenting an Incomplete Application.
  7. Applicants who are taking new employment and do not provide their Letter of Employment stating their new annual salary will be declined.

18. Documentation Requirements for Self-Employed Applicants

For the purposes of this disclosure, self-employed individuals and/or effectively self-employed individuals shall be defined as a person who has an ownership interest of 25% or more in a business, or one who is not a W-2 employee. (Revised 11/9/2022)

A. Minimum Requirements for Lease Application Approval include but are not limited to:

  1. Applicants must declare qualifying, recurring income and document their declaration. The Broker will use the Applicant’s adjusted gross income from their tax return for calculating income ratios and, when applicable, will add back depreciation.
  2. Self-employment income must be stable, consistent, and ongoing.
  3. Self-employed Applicants must provide personal tax returns for the most recent filing period and previous filing period. For self-employed Applicants with at least 25% ownership in a corporation, “S” corporation, or partnership, they must also provide signed copies of Federal business income tax returns for the last two years, with all applicable tax schedules, which could include a Schedule C, Form 1120S or K-1, depending on your business structure. Tax filing extensions will not be accepted. If the Applicant uploads a copy of their tax returns, they must also upload proof of filing the tax returns. Alternatively, the Applicant can obtain a transcript of their tax returns from IRS.gov and upload the transcripts.
  4. Self-employment and income should seem likely to continue for at least 3 years after lease execution.
  5. Self-employed Applicants must provide a year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet.
  6. All income information provided by the Applicant must be verifiable through bank account transcripts transferred via the Broker’s third party vendor, Payscore.

B. Conditions that can Cause Your Lease Application to be Declined include but are not limited to:

  1. Applicants who do not declare and document qualifying, recurring income will be declined.
  2. Self-employment income is not stable, consistent, and ongoing. Having a successful record of qualifying self-employment income in a previous location and attempting to start the same business in a new location may cause your application to be declined.
  3. Failing to provide your tax returns for the most recent filing period and previous filing period will cause your Application to be declined. Applicants who provide tax filing extensions will be declined. Applicants who do not provide proof of filing their tax returns or their IRS.gov tax transcripts will be declined.
  4. A history of income in a declining industry may cause your application to be declined.
  5. Failing to provide a year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet will cause your Application to be declined.
  6. The Broker will not accept self-employment income information from mobile payment services such as Google Pay, Cash App, Venmo, Apple Pay, etc. Rental Customers who refuse to document their employment income through Payscore will be declined for presenting an Incomplete Application.

19. Documentation of Assets are Not Accepted to Demonstrate Financial Capacity to Pay Rent

It is beyond the scope of real estate services provided by the Broker to verify and/or evaluate the declaration and/or documentation of assets presented by an Applicant for the purpose of demonstrating financial capacity to pay rent. The Broker does not acknowledge a duty to the Applicant to make recommendations to the Property Owner to approve or decline an Application based on the documentation of assets. This policy became effective on 10/4/2022 and does not apply to legacy customers renewing Leases who previously qualified entirely or partially on the documentation of liquid assets.

20. Defining Conditions that can Exist on an Application that Meets the Minimum Published Criteria for Approval, but the Landlord Reserves the Right to Decline the Application

(Revised 1/17/2023)

A. The Applicant provides IRS 1040 for the most recent tax filing period indicating a tax liability in excess of 10% of the Adjusted Gross Income and the Applicant does not provide proof that the tax liability has been paid.

B. In the situation where a Divorce Decree assigns mortgage payment responsibility to an ex-spouse and the Credit Report still indicates “joint responsibility” and the inclusion of the mortgage payment would make the Applicant’s Gross Debt to Gross Income Ratio in excess of the specific property’s published required Debt to Income Ratio.

21. Who is Required to Present a Joint Application

Both Spouses of married couples must apply. The Broker has a duty in the Rental Listing Agreement with the Landlord to check credit scores, check for account delinquencies, and calculate “Joint” Rent to Income Ratios and “Joint” Debt to Income Ratios. This cannot be accomplished without the Broker seeing the credit report of both spouses. (Revised 10/2/2020)

22. No Cosigners

Generally speaking, all Prospective Tenants must be able to qualify without the assistance of a Cosigner. There is one exception to this rule: When a Rental Customer presents a Lease Application while a divorce is pending, the non-occupying spouse will be required to present an Application and sign a Cosigner Agreement. (Effective 10/2/2020)

23. No Combined Income Qualification for Unmarried Couples or Unmarried Family Members

Unmarried couples and unmarried family members cannot qualify collectively on the income requirement the same as a married couple can when they present a Joint Application.

24. No Roommates

It is the Broker’s understanding that Federal Fair Housing Laws do not specify roommates as a protected class. Therefore, the Broker acknowledges no affirmative duty to accommodate roommates.

For the purpose of this disclosure, the term “roommates” shall not apply to two individuals presenting as an “unmarried couple”. The term “roommates” shall apply to unrelated individuals occupying a single family property.

This disclosure is not set forth as legal advice. The Broker is not an Attorney and is not issuing legal advice in this disclosure. To obtain legal advice on this subject, please consult with an Attorney. (Revised 11/3/2021)

25. No More than One Family per Home

For the purpose of this disclosure, a “family” shall be defined as a group residing together and consisting of parents, children, and other relatives by blood or marriage. The Broker and the Landlord retain the right of freedom of contract to lease with whomever we want as long as it is not for a discriminatory reason against a protected class. Two or more families residing in one home are not a protected class. It shall be the Broker’s policy not to rent to more than one family per residence.

26. Background Reports

In addition to the Broker pulling Applicants’ credit reports, the Broker will also pull a credit report and background reports, including but not limited to, nationwide criminal history reports, on all Applicants and on all occupants age 19 and older. Occupants 19+ years old who are not Applicants will be required to sign a consent form and pay a $55 fee. (Revised 7/6/2022)

27. Other Issues for which the Broker may Decline the Application

There are other issues not included above in Sections 1 through 26 for which the Broker may decline an Application depending on the issue’s status. When delinquencies remain unsatisfied and are in an amount equal to or greater than one month’s rent, the Broker will decline the Application. These delinquencies include, but are not limited to: 

  • Past Due Accounts
  • Charged Off Accounts
  • Judgments
  • Collections, including medical collections
  • Liens
  • Child Support
  • Garnishment
  • Attachment
  • Delinquent past or present rental obligations
  • Delinquency Judgments for Short Sales and/or Foreclosures

(Revised 12/30/2021)

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The Broker is not an Attorney. None of the Broker’s Agents are Attorneys. The Broker or his Agents do not provide legal services or legal advice. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a Rental Customer, Applicant, or Tenant, please consult with an Attorney.