Profile picture for KristinWard

Can this be consider discrimination?

I am a fairly new landlord with a small complex with 5 apartments. I recently lost a tenant due to an out of state job transfer. I immediately got to applicants apply in the same day. I ran both applicants on a site [website removed]  and the first tenant had ok credit and meet my income requirement however the second applicant had outstanding credit (almost 100 points more) and a higher income ( about 5,000 more). My applications have a clause require you to sign off agreeing on a credit check. I offered the apartment to the second applicant and contacted the first to let them know that I had chosen a different tenant.  
A couple of days later I started getting calls from the first applicant claiming that it was discrimination due to age, mostly its been about the refusal to rent to people his age, much of it has been ranting. The first applicant the one I didn't rent to is in his 20's. The women I did rent to is in her 40's. Both of them are white, have no criminal history and no eviction records. The guy has only one prior apartment. Will I did note that the man was in his 20's the credit and income where the major deciding factor. If the situation had been reversed I would have rented to him. However if they had similar reports I probably would have rented to her due to issues I've had with a couple in their 20's breaking lease. 
I do admit i have more older people. Mostly due to the fact that they generally tend to have better credit and more renting history then someone in their 20's. I do have a couple that is in their 20s and a 30 year old man and his 8 year old daughter, so its not like I only rent to anyone 55+. 

If this person takes me to court do I have anything to worry about. I still have both reports and the applications with the income as well as their permission to run the screening.
  • January 10 2012 - Saint Petersburg
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Answers (2)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
I'm sorry you are in this difficult situation.   If one gets several applicants for a property, of course the landlord has to chose only one.   Perhaps you'd discrimination against me because my hair is curly - ha, an unprotected class!

Here is a link to the Fair Housing section (from the US government website).  Scroll down to "what is prohibited" and you'll see that the person most likely doesn't have a case as you did not make a decision based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status or handicap (and in some states and/or communities, sexual orientation).  Please have a quickie review of the concern with your attorney.
  • January 10 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
The tenant is full of beans. You are under no obligation to take the first tenant that applies. It is your job to pick the best tenant based on a variety of factors as long as they do not include discriminating against a protected class named in the fair housing law. Credit is not one of those protected classes.

Tell the 20 year old that their credit check was not as good and that you chose to take the tenant with better credit and references. They do not have a case, they are just whining. I would have one last conversation with them, keep the paperwork and then ignore them.
  • January 10 2012
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