Complying with Fair Housing Laws

fair housing tenant screeningSure, rental properties can be great sources of income, but they can also be sources of never-ending legal drama. One way you can avoid a healthy dose of this drama is by being aware of the Fair Housing Act, which was adopted in 1968 and amended in 1988. This act prevents landlords from discriminating against renters based on the following criteria:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin

Unfortunately, it is a normal failing of the human race that we can’t help but form opinions of others based on our own, personal biases. You can circumnavigate this pitfall by using a background service to give you all the important information about your potential renter. A thorough tenant screening includes:

  1. A Credit Report – lists all credit activity and verifies the person’s identity
  2. A Criminal Search – a search of multiple databases to ascertain the person’s criminal record
  3. An Eviction Search – a search of state records to see whether the person has ever been or is in the process of being evicted (not all counties or states provide this)
  4. Landlord References – involves seeking out and speaking with prior landlords to verify that the person has been a responsible renter in the past (i.e., kept up with rent payments, fulfilled rental agreements, etc.)
  5. Tenant Score Card - a simple, powerful recommendation tool for property managers and landlords. It provides an automated means to quickly and efficiently analyze the credit, criminal, and eviction history of applicants and then generate a “pass”, “fail”, or “conditional” recommendation based on criteria customized by you. Our scorecard can help improve decision turnaround time, reduce delinquency rates, and increase bottom line profits.

With this information, you can avoid long, drawn out legal battles over whether you turned potential renters away for the right reasons. Thorough tenant screenings make sure your final decision is based on cold, hard facts, and not on personal bias or discrimination.

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