Landlord Information Prospective Tenant Screening Accurate Credit Bureau

Under state and federal law, you cannot discriminate against prospective tenants based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, marital status, or because a person is a veteran or a member of the armed forces, blind, hearing impaired, otherwise handicapped, or has children, or because of a person’s source of income.

Discrimination includes refusing to rent, setting different rental terms, providing different services or facilities, stating falsely that an apartment is unavailable, and advertizing or making any statement which indicates a preference based on race, religion, color, etc.

The “source of income” rule sometimes causes confusion. You cannot refuse to rent to a person because that person receives any form of public assistance. But you may refuse to rent to someone because, regardless of source, his or her income is not enough to be able to afford the rent. You must take care to apply the same standard of affordability to everyone, regardless of the source of their income. Here again, careful record-keeping can avoid problems.

Take care what you tell people when you turn them down for an apartment. If you tell them you’re turning them down because you don’t take subsidized tenants, or you don’t take children, you’re asking for a lawsuit. If you apply a neutral standard which applies to all prospective tenants, you can explain that the rent is too high for their income, and you don’t think they can afford the apartment. A common rule of thumb is that no tenant’should be paying more than one-third of his or her monthly income in rent. Verify income. It may come as a surprise to you, but some people lie (Really!) For more landlord information see Accurate Credit Bureau.

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