Female renters can be some of the best residents! They're likely quieter than other renters, they keep your real estate investments clean, and they probably pay the rent on time more often than forgetful men.
Whether or not that's true, landlords must be careful about choosing only female renters when marketing properties and choosing new tenants. Any appearance of discriminatory practices when setting rental property criteria, during tenant screening, and choosing your next tenant can lead to complaints and a costly lawsuit! A knowledgeable Greater Atlanta property management company understands the laws and helps investors choose renters fairly. Here's what you need to know!
What Are the Rules?
Without keeping up with the laws, it's challenging to know if something you do during the tenant selection process breaks the law. From the rental application through the criteria you set and the questions you ask during tenant screening, property managers know that there are plenty of opportunities for landlords to make a mistake that qualifies as discrimination. As your portfolio grows, avoiding violations becomes even more critical!
The Fair Housing Act outlines how property owners can and cannot operate when screening potential tenants. A property management expert knows that landlords cannot choose renters based on:
- Original nationality
- Familial status
- Disability or handicap
- And other factors
That means even if you prefer to rent your home only to women, the law doesn't allow you to set that as criteria and eliminate all men as potential residents in your property.
What Does Discrimination Look Like (Besides Tenant Screening)?
Now that you understand the rules and that female-only criterion can get you into trouble, what else does discrimination look like? Discrimination isn't limited to the tenant screening process and can take many forms.
Sometimes, a property owner may unknowingly discriminate. A property manager can tell you that discrimination against a tenant can look like any of these scenarios (and more):
- Refusing to rent a house to a prospective tenant in a protected class.
- Discouraging a prospective tenant in Atlanta by behaving in a manner that prevents them from renting a house or staying in it. This includes denying tenant privileges or services other tenants have access to.
- Making a vacant house unavailable because a tenant is of a particular protected class.
- Treating a tenant differently by renting out a house with terms and conditions different from other tenants.
- Separating a tenant from a particular building or parts of it.
- Excluding a resident from notices or events that other tenants are notified about.
- Concealing that a unit is vacant.
- Making statements that indicate a preference for one protected class over another.
- Applying lease rules selectively or showing preferential treatment to one resident over others.
Additionally, it is illegal for Atlanta rental property owners to intimidate, coerce, or interfere with a renter for exercising a fair housing right. With so many opportunities to inadvertently violate anti-discrimination laws, rental owners can protect themselves by working with property management experts to screen and manage renters!
Landlords Can't Choose Only Women (or Only Men) for a Rental Property
To comply with the law, landlords can't deny a tenant based on gender alone. Even if you prefer female tenants (or you only want to rent to men), acting on that preference by excluding all men (or all women) violates the law.
Be careful when marketing your properties, too! Advertising that shows discrimination is illegal. Advertising a property for "female-only tenants" fails to comply with Fair Housing laws and can lead to fines, lawsuits, and losing the opportunity to operate your property as a rental.
How a Property Management Company Helps
If you're suddenly panicking because you've only had female tenants in your rental property, relax! During tenant screening and when applying fair criteria and selection practices, a woman renter might be the best fit for your rental home every time—and that's okay. As long as you market the property fairly, accept applications from men and women, screen every applicant equally, and apply the same criteria to each prospective tenant, you've followed the law.
However, if you're uncomfortable with the tenant screening and placement process (or you're not sure if your marketing, screening, and placement efforts follow the law), an Atlanta property management team can help! The best property management experts stay current on all landlord-tenant laws and apply a fair, consistent process when choosing new residents for your rental properties.
Choose the Best Tenants Every Time With an Atlanta Property Management Company
An investigation resulting from a Fair Housing complaint can be the beginning of a costly legal battle. Whether your actions were intentional or accidental, violating anti-discrimination laws is not okay.
A Greater Atlanta property management company can help rental property owners avoid this type of investigation while placing residents who are the best fits for your properties! Renters Warehouse Atlanta has the experience you need to market, screen, and lease your rentals while following all landlord-tenant laws. We also manage every renter fairly through legal lease agreements and enforcement that complies with rental property regulations. Reach out, and let's talk about how we can update your tenant management practices to avoid lawsuits!
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