Being a Landlord and Discrimination

by : Matt Barker

Discrimination is always a hot-button issue in America and worldwide. However it is also a big issue in the real estate market. In fact, in years past it was such an issue that The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 specifically preventing race, religion, status or numerous other forms of discrimination in the housing market. Supplemental to this is the Americans with Disabilities Act which like the FHA, makes it illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities; metal or physical in the housing market. These acts come into consideration quite often for landlords who find themselves having to secure good tenants for their properties.

A good landlord should be careful in every aspect of securing tenants, this includes both the advertising for the property and for the screening process as well. In the United States the FHA is applicable to the advertising of the property, so be careful about how the adverts are worded. It is unfortunate but there are those that will spend hours looking through the ads for rentals trying to find a landlord whom they can exploit. Take the time to find out what the laws are in your community aside from the FHA and Disabilities Act. There may be other statutes that ban other types of discrimination that you were unaware of.

None of this is implying that you would ever discriminate against anyone, it is to help protect you from unscrupulous renters and others who would use the laws that are in place to gain advantage and leverage over you as a renter. The courts in this country have seen no end of lawsuits against landlords who made one small mistake in their advertising or screening. There is no shortage of people out there that want to make a quick buck at someone else's expense. Make sure that you are protected against those who would attack your assets. Make sure that if you are renting properties that you set up a company or some sort of business entity that owns the properties. This will ensure that any business judgments will not affect your personal holdings.