Tip of the Month - December, 2016


Source: Leases & rental Agreements-2nd Edition
By:  Maria Stewart & Attorney Ralph Warner & Janet Portman

Federal and state anti-discrimination laws limit what you can say and do in the tenant selection process.  Basically, you need to keep in mind three important points.

1-You are legally free to choose among prospective tenants as long as you decisions are based on legitimate business criteria.  You are entitled to reject people for the following reasons:

A-poor credit history
B-income that you reasonably regard as insufficient to pay the rent.
C-negative references from previous landlords indicating problems-such as property damage or consistently late rent payments-could make someone a bad risk.
D-convictions for criminal offenses. (see remarks)
E-inability to meet the legal terms of a lease or rental agreement, such as someone who can’t come up with the security deposit or who wants to keep a pet and your policy is no pets OR
F-more people that you want to live in the unit-assuming that your limit on the number of tenants is clearly tied to health and safety or legitimate business needs.

2-Antidiscrimination laws specify clearly illegal reasons to refuse to rent to a tenant. The federal Fair Housing Act. (42U.S.Code~3601-3619) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or color, religion, national origin, gender, age, familial status (children) and physical or mental disability (including recovering alcoholics and people with a past drug addiction)  Many states and cities also prohibit discrimination based on marital status or sexual orientation.

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This web page was updated on 11/29/2016.