Discriminatory Questions You Can’t Ask Residents

Discrimination questions for renters

Eleaf (Flickr)

When you meet prospective residents for the first time, it’s understandable that you want to know as much as you can about them. However, asking the wrong questions can get you into legal trouble if you’re not careful.

Certain questions are deemed as discriminatory. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act and understand the protected classes. This will help you avoid asking discriminatory questions such as the following:


Can I see your medical records?

Since you’re in a wheelchair, you’re only looking for ground floor-level apartments, right?

How disabled are you?


What church do you go to?

Are you Buddhist? Are you going to convert a room into a mediation room?

What holidays do you celebrate?

National Origin

What country were you born in?

Was English your first language?

What was it like growing up in [country name]?


What are you?

Are you Cuban?

Since you’re Chinese, are you looking for an apartment close to Asian grocery stores?


You have really light skin. What ethnicity are you?

There are lots of white people living here. Do you think you’ll fit in?

Are you part black?

Familial Status

Are your children well behaved?

Are you pregnant?

Have you made arrangements for childcare?


(To a woman) Do you plan on having a man around to help you around the apartment?

I only rent to men for the first floor. Do you have a different apartment preference?

No matter how tempted you are, do NOT ask questions like these. These questions are illegal and could result in a discrimination case against you. While it’s important that you get to know your residents, it’s even more important to remain unbiased to these classes in your questions.