Sunday, March 26, 2006

Avoid Discrimination When Finding Tenants

Here are some tips for staying within the Fair Housing Guidelines --
Here's the biggest tip that will keep you out of trouble: Treat everyone exactly the same!
Here's another key tip: Offer Everyone an Application!
Examples of how to screw this up:
1) A married person is not told a credit check is required; a single mother is told a credit check will be needed (assuming both have same qualifications)
2) A married person is told it takes a day to process the application; a single mother is told it will take up to a week.
3) Single college student not offered an application; young professional offered an application.
4) Telling different persons that the required security deposit is more than another person.
5) Telling someone the place is rented when it is not.
6) Processing applications not in the order received.
You cannot ask anyone about any of the following: race, religion, age, sex, marital status, or disabilities.
You do have the right to reject someone for unexplained negative information; you also have the right to ask about the need for any requested adjustments or accomodations for the property - but only if the person asks first!
Credit Reporting Act Facts:
  • To run a credit report you need a permissible purpose (lease application is permissible)
  • Always have tenant sign application which has a statement allowing you to run credit report
  • Do not consider information more than 7 years old
  • Credit reports should be held in strict confidence and not disseminated, and should be stored in a locked location
  • NEVER run a credit report against yourself; it is illegal!

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