A Tenant you can refuse...(or not)

Real Estate Agent with 1

This morning I got an email from a landlord who is curious about what or how he can refuse a prospective tenant. 

======Start of Email======

"Hi I read your blog and you have good info on there.   Keep it up.  I have become a new landlord, some apartments are already rented with leases and two are not.  I have posted my own ads and I got alot of replies but some of them I am not to comfortable with renting to.  Can I deny a tenant a[n] apartment?"

Well in short, yes.

You can deny a tenant an apartment but you must be careful on your reasons.

Valid reasons to deny:

  • Credit history.
  • Smoking.
  • Drug use.
  • Number of people. (Be careful on this one.  You can not discriminate against a family or non-family)  But if you have a one bedroom apartment and 7 people are looking to rent your apartment - yes, you can deny for the NUMBER of people not family status!
  • Pets.
  • Length of lease desired.  (You are requesting a year lease and the tenant wants more or less).
  • Income to rent ratio.
  • Convictions - (including Sex predators)

Reasons that could be discriminating:

  • Family status (Married, divorcee, single, same sex marriage, etc.)  Let me clarify, a landlord cannot say to a prospective tenant "Oh, I only want single people in here" or "Or I don't want a married couple because that only means they MIGHT have kids".
  • Race - (Do I need to explain?    Thought NOT!).
  • Political Stance.
  • Religion.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Disability. 
  • Age. (Very gray area).

also read:

Explain your fees, Please.

Landlord, Tenants and Co-signers.

Questions ?

Have a great weekend, I will see you Monday!

Comments (3)

Good post-Christine. He has to be very cautious about who he turns down and why. There are people that look for landlords that might discriminate against them.
Jul 06, 2007 10:15 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Hey, I needed this ! Thanks, Missy
Jul 06, 2007 11:20 AM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

This is some great advice and so many mom and pop landlord get in trouble for declining a tenant based on all the equal housing guidelines. I always advice first time landlords to join a landlord club to make sure they protect themselves or hire someone to do it for them.


Jul 06, 2007 05:22 PM