the Month - February, 2021
AVOIDING ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION
Sources: Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner, J.D.
Attorney 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 your decisions are based on legitimate business
criteria. You are entitled to reject people for the
*poor credit history
*Income that you reasonably regard as insufficient to pay
*negative references from previous landlords indicating
problems---such as property damage or consistently late rent
payments---that make someone a bad risk
*convictions for criminal offences
*inability to meet the legal terms of a lease or rental
agreement, such as someone who cannot come up with the
security deposit or who want to keep a pet and your policy is
*more people than 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.
Anti-discrimination laws specify clearly illegal reasons to
refuse to rent to a tenant. The federal Fair Housing Act
prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion,
national origin, gender, age, familial status (pregnancy or
children), and physical or mental disability (including
recovering alcoholics and people with a past drug addition).
Many states and cities also prohibit discrimination based on
marital status, source of income, military status, sexual
orientation or gender identity.
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