There are Federal and State laws that promote antidiscrimination where you as a landlord have certain limitations with the things you should say & do when selecting a tenant. If you neglect any of these antidiscrimination laws, you may be found yourself facing fair housing complaints and lawsuits.
Here are the important practices to bear in mind while selecting tenants:
- Background check. You can check the credit score, income and other references of your prospected tenant during the selection process. These days, checking credit report is quite cheap. You must call the former landlords of the tenant to get more references. You also have to find out your applicant’s job, income, and bank account data. Make sure you do all these selection processes to all applicants, don’t single out a particular nationality, race, age and other civil status.
- Base your reasons on business factors. When you choose to accept or reject an applicant, make sure it is based on business purposes and not personal. Business reasons include if the applicant has bad record score, is a bad tenant to past landlords, or if he or she is doing illegal activities.
- Fair housing laws. You must know that you can’t reject a tenant based on religion, race, national origin, age, gender, civil status, mental disability, or physical disability.
- Your staff should also know the law. If you do not deal with your applicants directly, make sure your staff also knows the fair housing law, otherwise, you might be facing lawsuits in the future.
- Be consistent to all tenants. You must treat every applicant and tenant the same way. Do not treat any of them differently from another because of ethnic reasons or any discriminative factors.
If you fail to adhere any of these guidelines, and your applicant or tenant is charging you for violating the fair housing law, you can consult an attorney to know what to do.
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