LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Rixon Charles Rafter III

Landlords Need to be Careful to Avoid Violating Federal Laws When Sceening Tenants

Landlords need to be careful—they can’t ask the wrong questions of prospective tenants, but landlords must do some form of screening. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits a landlord from refusing to rent property to a tenant for discriminatory reasons like race, color, religion, national origin, sex or gender, disability, and familial status, a landlord should avoid questions that may appear discriminatory or suggest a discriminatory intent.

The landlord does, however, the responsibility to use standard tenant screening methods like credit and reference checks; screening tenants based on the use of discriminatory information is illegal and could result in a lawsuit.

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