While there are good cases to be made for home owners to manage their own properties; there are better reasons to outsource this task to a Property Manager. In fact, tenant screening is one such reason where home owners could find themselves in serious trouble with the Department of Fair Housing.
Below are 5 Topics that are constitute Housing Discrimination and should be avoided. These topics are:
1) Color: Despite declaration by Stephen Colbert that Racism is over, the topic of race is illegal and inappropriate for any tenant screening interview.
2) Race: Topic of race is also illegal during tenant screening. Are you Korean, Chinese, Arab……etc might sound like harmless questions, but they are illegal and hence inappropriate for tenant screening.
3) Religion : The civil was in Syria might be fresh on your mind, but keep in mind that religion is not a proper topic for a Tenant Screening interviews. You are not allowed to ask your potential tenant about their religious background.
4) Sex: Comments like “I prefer to rent to men since they are more handy”, might appear to be a very innocent observation. However, it clearly states your attempt to discriminate against women! So, avoid it in your interviews for tenant screening.
5) National Origins: American are a curious bunch and friendly by nature. But “where are you from” does not belong in a tenant screening conversation. So,don’t ever ask your tenant such a question.
Bottom line is that these topics are illegal for tenant screening interviews and could get you into very serious trouble with Federal courts on Housing Discrimination claims.
Even refusing to show to show a person your rental property, or telling them that the apartment or house is not available when it is, quoting a higher rent to one person than to another, or having different terms and conditions for renting to certain people are all samples of Housing Discrimination. The federal law forbids practices that, for example, deny tenants with children rental units because of an “adults only” or a “no children” policy. It prohibits denying people with mental or physical problems housing regardless of the landlord’s preference.
Department of Fair Housing has some more information about these topics, but we are convinced that complicated housing laws are enough justification to hire a property manager.
What do you think!? We would love to hear from you.