Landlord Discrimination against Residential Renters – What you Need to Know

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Landlord Tenant LawyerIt is against both federal and state law to discriminate against certain types of tenants. If you are contemplating renting a property, it is best for you to know about different forms of discrimination in order to protect your rights. If your landlord has denied your application for unfair reasons, you can lodge a complaint against them to your relevant state agencies or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What Constitutes as Landlord Discrimination

When a landlord is renting out a property, they have the right to choose the most suitable tenant from their options. They consider several factors when making the decision, such as applicant’s rental history, credit history, employment, criminal records, and others. However, the law prohibits a landlord to make their selection based on their certain personal characteristics, such as:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity (e.g. transgender)
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexuality (e.g. homosexuality)
  • Ancestry

Sexual harassment is another aspect that is against the law when renting a property.  A landlord cannot discriminate against individuals with a disability, be it physical or psychological. However, they are not obligated to do anything special to make the property or premises better for a disabled tenant. For example, if a physically disabled individual is interested in renting a property, the landlord is not required to install a wheelchair ramp. On the other hand, the landlord must allow the renter to install the ramp on their own expense to make the property accessible. In addition, the renter will be responsible for removing the ramp when their lease agreement expires.

Tenants with Children

A landlord cannot refuse to give a private home, townhouse, condo, or apartment on rent to tenants just because they have children. However, if the property is a unit in a housing complex which has been specifically targeted toward senior citizen, then this can be an exception. Generally, such housing complexes require tenants to be over 55 or 60 years, who do not want neighbors with young children as they can be a hassle to deal with in their old age.

Denying Tenancy Based on a Renter’s Personal Preferences

In some states, a landlord cannot turn down a tenant because they are not comfortable with the details of their personal lives. This means that they cannot refuse tenancy to single people or unmarried couples or homosexuals, based on their lifestyle choices. Moreover, if a victim of a crime or domestic abuse is willing to rent a property, the landlord cannot turn them down just because they might bring trouble to their house.

What are the Rights of Landlords?

If you are renting a room or portion in your private home, the standard rules and regulations may not apply in the selection of residential renters. If you are sharing your home with someone who uses the common areas, you can choose to refuse tenancy to people you are not comfortable with. If you have put up a studio apartment for rent, you can turn down family of six or more members. Moreover, people with bad credit history or unstable income sources can also be refused tenancy because they might not be able to pay rent on time.

For more information on landlord discrimination against residential tenants, you may contact the Jackson Abdalla Law Group today at (773) 550-3853. We represent clients in Kane County and the Greater Chicago area, Illinois.

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