When considering applicants for a rental property, it is important for property owners to steer clear of any discriminatory behavior. This includes denying applicants for a variety of reasons.
Staying familiar with anti-discrimination laws can help landlords avoid costly mistakes. Something that may not seem like discrimination to one person may land him or her in hot water with the law.
The Fair Housing Act
According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when it comes to locating housing. Landlords may not deny housing to potential tenants based on any of the following reasons:
- Skin color or race
- National origin
- Family status
While this may seem straightforward, it is easy to make mistakes. For example, a landlord may consider two different applicants for the same rental. If that landlord shows preference to a married couple simply because they are married, as opposed to a single tenant, that is discrimination.
Tenants with disabilities
Laws are very specific when it comes to tenants with disabilities. FindLaw states that disabled tenants may request that reasonable accommodations are made to help improve their lives. The request for a modification must be directly linked to the disabled person’s disability, however.
Some landlords may decide to discriminate against disabled tenants as a way of getting out of modifications. This is highly illegal, however, and may have intense legal ramifications.
It is important to understand how personal preferences may be discriminatory in the eyes of the law. Landlords must stay abreast of any changes in laws regarding fair housing requirements.