Tenant Screening – More Tips for Fair Housing Compliance, Part II

MORE IMPORTANT DO’S & DON’TS OF TENANT SCREENING – PART II

In my last blog, I shared with you the “DO’S & DON’TS” of tenant screening. ( See the article HERE )

Experienced landlords know that bad tenants cause worse problems. You can preempt problem tenants through a good screening process. However, when you’re screening and talking to a prospective tenant – watch what you say and what you do!  Your best intentions and unintended actions can open oneself to litigation.  There is an art to getting the information you need without exposing yourself to liability. For example:

When screening a tenant, it’s ok to ask their date of birth so that you can conduct a background screening or meet the requirements of a 55 and older living facility or determine if the applicant is over 18. But do not ask outright their age. Asking ones age in most counties is deemed a discriminatory question.  It is also ok to ask how many people or occupants will be staying on the property with you? Key word is people or occupant.  But do not ask how many children – (once you use the “c” word and deny the applicant for legitimate reasons, it may be wrongly attributed to a “no child policy”.

It’s ok to ask do you have any pets. Or to say that we have a no pet policy since pets are not a protected class. But it’s not ok to say we have a no animal policy because disability, comfort and emotional support animals are not considered pets.

It’s smart to ask, why are you moving? When are you looking to move? Can I Ask for References from your former landlords and employer? Has the landlord ever asked you to leave your unit or has the landlord ever filed an eviction against you? The key words are asked to leave or eviction filed and not if you were ever evicted. The evicted question doesn’t provide any real value as most tenants are not evicted. Most tenants leave before they are evicted and if only asked if evicted, they will truthfully say no, having you believe they have been a stellar tenant.

It’s ok to ask if your applicant has a criminal record – a conviction and not just an arrest or charge. But it is not ok to ask if you have even been arrested or charged with a crime, as in our great country, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  

If you would like to have the “DO’S & DON’TS” of tenant screening in handy business card or in poster form to hang up, or if you would like Octazon to provide a seminar on how best to screen, please contact Marvin Katz of Octazon Management

 

About Octazon:  Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties.  When providing management services to Realtors, Octazon will NOT provide the leasing, rentals or sales – so you never have to worry about losing control of your relationship with the owner. 

Providing Simplicity and Peace of Mind™ 

Call us 954-674-2467 or email us at info@octazon.com today.

Check us out @ www.octazon.com 

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES- MULTI FAMILY – COMMERCIAL – OFFICE INDUSTRIAL

This BLOG is to provide helpful information and should not be considered legal advice

Tenant Screening – Tips for Fair Housing Compliance

IMPORTANT DO’S & DON’TS OF TENANT SCREENING

In honor of Fair Housing Compliance Month, I want to share with our Realtors and our Back Office clients,  some Fair Housing compliance tips for Prospective Tenant Screening.

The below questions list what is ok to ask and what is not ok to ask, during tenant screening, in order  to comply with and avoid violating the Fair Housing Act: ( For further understanding on these Do’s and Dont’s, check out our second posting – Tenant Screening, Part II )

.“DO ASK”

• Name, phone number, current address & date of birth? • Are you currently employed? Can we contact your employer?  • Any other income sources?

• What is your credit score – will you allow us to pull a credit report?

• How many people in total will be occupying the property with you?

• Any pets?  • Any smokers? • Reason for moving from previous property?  • Did you give your landlord notice of your moving?  • Who are your previous landlords? Can we contact them?

• Individual Tax ID # or S.S #?  • Are you looking for Section 8 housing? Do you have voucher?  • Are you currently in bankruptcy? Do you have prior dismissals of bankruptcy? • Do you have liens, judgments or collections? • Have you ever been asked to leave by a landlord? Have you ever had an eviction filed against you or been evicted? • Any misdemeanor involving sexual misconduct?  • Convicted of a crime?  • Ever pleaded guilty or no contest to a crime or had adjudication withheld or deferred for a criminal offense?

“DON’T ASK”

• Race? • Color? • National Origin? • Sex (gender)? • Do you have any physical and or mental disability/handicap? • Familial status (i.e. children under 18, pregnant, adopted)?

• Religion? • Age? • Political Affiliation? • Ancestry? • Are you currently in the military or are you a veteran? • Marital Status (Married, single, divorced?) • Do you have a marriage license?

• Planning on more children? • Ethnic background? • Sexual orientation? •   Transgender or Gender Identity • Have you ever been arrested?

If you would like to have the above ” Tenant Screening Tips ” in handy business card or  poster form to hang up, please contact Marvin Katz of Octazon Management,

 

About Octazon:  Whether you own a few properties or hundreds of properties in Florida, Octazon Management, LLC is here to simplify property ownership and management. We can help you manage any and all of your properties.  When providing management services to Realtors, Octazon will NOT provide the leasing, rentals or sales – so you never have to worry about losing control of your relationship with the owner. 

Providing Simplicity and Peace of Mind™ 

Call us 954-674-2467 or email us at info@octazon.com today.

Check us out @ www.octazon.com

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES- MULTI FAMILY – COMMERCIAL – OFFICE INDUSTRIAL

This BLOG is to provide helpful information and should not be considered legal advice