Owning rental properties will be profitable when being leased by tenants; empty units will not make any money. The local rental market is booming for many reasons, including the always-present student tenants. Yet some properties remain harder to fill, perhaps creating certain leasing situations that should be avoided. As part of the leasing process, attorneys in Bryan Texas alert owners that interviewing prospective tenants must be done within compliance of the Fair Housing Act to avoid any accusations of discrimination. Read the information presented below about applicable equal housing regulations and fair housing laws to avoid any problems.
Fair Housing Laws
The Federal Fair Housing Act exists to prevent discrimination against any individual who may be interested in renting a dwelling that has been made available to the public for rent. It protects against race, sex, and age discrimination and it prevents singling out handicapped or disabled individuals as well as any religious affiliation. It basically says that rental cannot be refused to anyone based on such adverse criteria. There are many more housing laws that must be recognized as well, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act, and the Civil Rights Act among others. There are laws at both federal and state levels, so it is important for property owners to consult with attorneys in Bryan TX who know these laws and their meaning.
The thorough screening of applicants is an important part of any property rental business – and yet it is the easiest one to cause discrimination problems. On one hand, no landlord wants to rent a unit to a tenant who will create problems; however, it is illegal to assume that potential renters can be classified by belonging to a certain group of individuals that should not be considered. So it is essential for those owning rental property to have a rental application that asks only the legally allowed questions that could be pertinent and avoid those that are deemed discriminatory by fair housing laws.
Attorneys in Bryan TX who help clients handle rental properties advise that applications may include rules of occupancy and include questions about prior evictions, credit and financial history, reason for leaving current living quarters, and others along those lines. Personal request about substance use, mental health, family status including marriage status, and other such ones are considered discriminatory.
Since application screening is such an important part of finding a good tenant, the best recommendation is to work with Bryan attorneys when creating an initial application, rules of occupation, and rental contract – and then use only those forms when seeking new tenants. If any applicant or resident requests a change to the rules of occupancy or any other detail outlined in the application or contract, it is recommended to return to a lawyer for help in correctly modifying paperwork so it legally reflects changes in a way that protects both parties.
Showing Property, Rules of Occupancy, and Evictions
Though all of the above topics pertain to different parts of a landlord-tenant relationship, per the advice of Bryan TX attorneys they should always be handled to adhere to Fair Housing laws. In a nutshell, it is never legal to provide different treatment to any person for any reason; this applies to showing a property and its different features, creating and/or changing rules to suit certain tenants, or having to evict tenants.
Any person who feels that discrimination has happened even in the simplest way can file a Fair Housing complaint; this makes it essential to follow the same procedures with every applicant, every accepted tenant, and every eviction as the occasion arises. Landlords who do this will then remain protected by law for actual tenant issues and even evictions that are based solely on non-discriminatory concerns.
To prevent any financially damaging legal headaches or negatively impact a landlordâ€™s reputation and ability to lease properties, attorneys in Bryan Texas advise that every property owner have a thorough knowledge of Fair Housing law. Seeking the services of an attorney in Bryan who is familiar with this information could be the best way for a rental property owner to avoid any complaints of discrimination in the rental process.