The Federal Fair Housing Act guides landlords in the conduct of the tenant screening process. It allows all consumers equal housing opportunities and prohibits any landlord or property manager from having the following factors influence their decision to approve someone for rent: race, color, religion, sex, familial status, marital status, age, gender identity, source of income, immigrations status, personality, or ethnic background. There is a big possibility for individuals to make money illegally through property owners by claiming discrimination in their attempt to rent a space in a property, assuming that they can get a pot of gold by winning a lawsuit. When landlords are not well aware of their rights and the rights of consumers they can fall prey to this similar situations. It is important for landlords to take measures in order to avoid discrimination lawsuits.
When making a tenant screening policy, the landlords must be able to fully understand the classes of people that the Fair Housing Act protects. Factors mentioned above fall to these classes. Therefore, it will not be right to place advertisements on a vacant space in your property and state that it is ideal for bachelors or single women only, as it is discriminatory to consider sexual orientation or marital status in the approval of rent applications.
Landlords should also understand everything that encompasses discrimination. Many landlords, especially those that are not keen in improving their knowledge in property management by becoming members of landlord associations, do not have a clear glimpse of statements, comments, remarks, or actions that constitute discrimination. They get caught on a potential discrimination lawsuit over a remark they have made to an applicant previously which he believes is not discriminatory in nature. Federal and state discrimination laws can guide you, so it is now up to you to get to know them better.