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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+. 

So do you think I should just ignore the guy? I think he's probably bluffing when he threatens to take me to court. What do you think?
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January 10 2012 - Saint Petersburg
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Replies (4)

Profile picture for sunnyview
He's bluffing. Tell him that you are sorry, but that you chose the applicant with the best credit. I also would not take his phone calls anymore and would tell him that if continues to harass you that you will call the police.
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January 10 2012
Under Federal law, age is not a factor in discriminating between one renter over another - excepting when the renter is receiving Federal money.

There may be local or state laws that are different. But in most cases age is not a 'protected class' - especially when it comes to renting.
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January 10 2012
You, as a landlord have a right to choose a tenant for your rental property as long as you do not violate Fair Housing Act. In Florida, the age is not a protected class. Florida law has the same protected categories as federal law. Please check here
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January 10 2012
You are well within your rights to choose your tenant considering you had a viable reason.  Based on the info you provided, the second applicant had a credit score 100 points higher than the first occupant.  This is reason enough and more than adequate in making your choice.  Just make sure you have all your documentation avaiilable and provide it for the Judge, if court ever were to become necessary.  Now every state is different and it's always wise to ask an Attorney this info.  As a Landlord you should try to build a business relationship with a lawyer that deals with evictions and make him/her part of your team.    When a relationship such as that is built, the Attorney would more then likely be willing to answer questions such as this for you without and fees.  Good luck.

On a side note, I hope you been collecting application fee's which cover the cost and time of you greviewing them.
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January 11 2012
 
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  • Posted by KristinWard
  • In Landlords
  • January 10 2012
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