Wholesale Real Estate Investing: The laws that cover who you rent to are Federal laws, and are therefore valid in every state of the US. This can be a very big deal if you are accused of discriminating against a qualified tenant that is rejected because of any of the protected categories.
The protected categories have grown beyond race or religion. You must now be cautious about rejecting those who are in any of the ‘protected’ categories according to the national laws. Some rental units are exempt from the laws, however. If you are an owner and occupy one of the units where there are 4 or less units, as in the case of a duplex where you are living in one side, the laws don’t apply to you. Another exemption could apply to those who buy a house and rent it out without a broker. Private clubs can also be exempt if their housing is reserved for members only.
If you are not exempt, you must know where discrimination could occur and what is construed as discriminatory. The basic protected categories include religion, national origin, race, color, sex, family status, or those with any handicap.Discriminatory actions include refusal to rent or sell, setting different rules or terms for different applicants, differing housing accommodations, or the act of lying about the availability of a rental due to your personal preferences.
It is also quite illegal to threaten anyone who brings up the charges against you. All must be able to file complaints against you freely without fear of retaliation of any kind. These laws are for the protection of all and must be followed. Do your best to know the laws and whether or not you are held by them. It would be good to know if you aren’t under the scope of these laws. This way, you know your rights as well as the tenant knows his or hers.
Any tenant that has a disability must be allowed to alter the premises to accommodate the disability. You can have them do it at their own expense, and you can require that upon leaving they return the property to its original condition. Disabilities listed include mental retardation, AIDs, mental illness, physical mobility issues, chronic alcoholism, and AIDs related illness.
If you don’t allow pets in your rental, but a disabled tenant needs a guide dog, you must allow it in this case. Special parking might be requested and should be honoured for those who would have difficulty otherwise.
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