Understanding Landlord Discrimination and How to Avoid It
If you're being honest with yourself, you could easily admit that you have a preference. There is a certain type of renter that you desire and typically look for when on the quest for a new tenant. While it's okay to have a list of qualities to look for, you want to make certain you're aren't being discriminatory in your selection. Discriminating against potential and current tenants doesn't just damage your reputation, but it also leaves the door open for a lawsuit. Make sure understand how to avoid discriminatory practices.
In order to avoid this type of practice, it's important that you first understand the difference between a requirement and discrimination. You can have a set guideline that tenants need to meet, but when you deny a tenant simply because of their race, religion or family dynamic, this isn't a fair practice. For example, based on the cost to rent your space and the average cost of utility payments, you can come up with a minimum income level a tenant needs to meet in order to qualify for your property.
Denying a tenant because they don't meet this requirement is fair practice. However, say you had a unit with beautiful, new white carpet installed. A family filled out an application and meet all the requirements except, they have small children and you're scared they will damage the carpet. Denying their application on the sole basis that they have children is discrimination.
Avoiding Discriminatory Practices
Create a fair list of requirements. When making your list of requirements for a new tenant, make certain you are keeping it professional. Aside from questions about the potential tenant's criminal history, any of their other private information should be off limits. If you keep concerns about race, sexual orientation and religion off your list of requirements, you're far less likely to end up discriminating against someone.
Leave it to a professional. The simplest way to avoid this unfair practice is to leave the screening process to a property management company. The property management company will base their decision on the hard-facts, not personal preferences. In addition to helping you screen tenants, they can also take the stress of managing the property off your hands.
Make certain you are being a fair and responsible landlord. Look for the best tenant for the property, not necessarily someone who simply meets your list of personal preferences. For more information, contact Foreside Real Estate Management.