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Can you turn down a tenant you do not like the look of?

Can you turn down a tenant you do not like the look of?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | landlord-tenant disputes |

It is sometimes essential to make quick judgments about what we see in front of us. For example, a lone woman might never have met the stocky male entering the passageway behind her, but instinct tells her he could spell trouble.

As a landlord, you may get a quick impression that you do not want the person knocking at the door as a tenant. Does that mean you can turn them down?

Be extremely careful before rejecting a prospective tenant

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on things such as gender, race, religion, nationality, disability, the color of their skin or their family status.

While it might never occur to you to do that, a tenant you reject could claim that was the true reason you refused them.

That does not mean you have to accept every application

Here are two of the reasons that are acceptable:

  • The tenant has a poor rental history: If the tenant has damaged previous rental properties or failed to pay rent on time, it may give you a reason to turn them down. Make sure your sources are accurate.
  • You don’t take pets: If you wish to use this, be sure you do not have existing tenants with pets. It cannot be one rule for one and another for another. Note that service animals are an exception, and you generally need to accept them.

Getting legal help to understand your rights and obligations as a landlord reduces the chance you end up in a dispute.

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