Landlords have the right to screen potential tenants, and while they want to be as thorough as possible, tenants should know that some questions are off limits.
Therefore, it’s your responsibility as a renter to know your rights and protect your privacy. Fortunately, this guide reveals the information you don’t need to disclose to the landlord.
Information on Disabilities
Numerous property owners may be genuinely looking out for your interests. They may know the building’s wheelchair access is very poor or it would be tough for a visually impaired person to negotiate the building.
While that’s all well and good, it isn’t their concern. After all, somebody with a disability has similar rights to rent an apartment or home as an able-bodied person. Furthermore, every home or apartment up for rent must be accessible to a disabled tenant.
Bear in mind that the law doesn’t require you to report your disability, but you may opt to do so to ensure you secure your desired unit. If the landlord directs you to a particular unit over others, he or she could in fact face legal action.
Whether You’ve been Arrested
A landlord shouldn’t ask whether you’ve been arrested before. It’s important to note that there’s a huge difference between being convicted of a crime and being arrested.
A landlord can ask the potential renter if he or she has ever been convicted because this is something the landlord can easily discover through a background check.
Bear in mind that in numerous states, for instance California, you can’t discriminate someone because of crime conviction. The offense would have to affect the person’s ability to be a good tenant.
For instance, if the renter has a history of violent crimes or previous conviction of possessing illegal drugs; in such cases the tenant would probably put other renters at risk.
Whether You Have Any Children
Even if the landlord sounds like he or she is simply making conversation, you’re not obligated to disclose information on children. The landlord shouldn’t ask how many children you have, where they school, or their ages.
Bear in mind that property owners could use this information to discriminate against you (particularly those who think that kids will just cause a lot of mess and noise) and this is unlawful.
Some landlords may get around not inquiring about children by including a section for your children’s names. You don’t need to fill it out and if they insist you do, simply refer to the Fair Housing Act.
Your Religious Affiliation
While this may appear like an innocent question, probing a tenant over his or her religion is a direct infringement of the Fair Housing Act. While the proprietor may not mean anything by the inquiry, the assumption could be that he or she favors Christian applicants over others.
Remember, a tenant’s faith or lack thereof is none of the landlord’s concern. In the event that the landlord brings up a question concerning religion, beware that he or she is breaking the law.
The landlord shouldn’t concern himself with your marital status. After all, married persons don’t necessarily make better or worse tenants. Therefore, you don’t have to offer information over your status.
While the rental market can be tough, you must be knowledgeable on your rights as a tenant. If you’re not certain about the information you should disclose to the landlord, this guide will prove invaluable.
For more information on privacy protection for tenants, contact us at Apartment Agents or leave a comment.