What if you could rent your Baltimore rental homes to just women?
- That may sound like a good idea on the surface.
- You may believe women are easier to manage or that they are more likely to keep up with routine maintenance.
- However, this is not necessarily true. More importantly, it is considered discrimination.
Before you decide who you should rent to, it's worth considering the following insights from a Maryland property management company. Make 2021 a better year than 2020 when you avoid these key legal mistakes! They could cost you more than just your long-term income.
Keep in mind that this information is not legal counsel. We highly encourage you to work with an experienced attorney if you’re not handling this process via full-service property management.
Know the Laws About Rental Discrimination
Baltimore rental laws (as well as federal law) make it clear it is not legal to discriminate when undertaking your tenant screening and placement process. These laws apply to just about every type of Baltimore rental home, whether single-family homes or multi-family properties.
Fair housing laws like these protect people in seven categories:
- National origin
- Familial status
This has been expanded over time to include age, ancestry, marital status, immigration status, sexual orientation, and source of income, among other factors.
When we look at this as a Maryland property management company, it's easy to see that it's not legal for you to limit who you consider renting the property to based on whether or not they are female.
- You may not think that wanting to choose women only to rent to is discriminatory.
- After all, it is your Baltimore rental property, and you just want to make the right choice for who lives there.
- No matter how great you think women may be for your location, it’s critical to follow the laws in place.
Not keeping the above in mind can seriously cost you in legal fees and other repercussions.
So, What Can You Consider During Tenant Screening?
There are some situations where you can be more selective and pick and choose who you wish to rent your property to.
For example, you can:
- Deny a prospective renter if they have poor credit or insufficient income to pay the rental rate you are asking.
- You can also limit renting to those with a criminal history or those that have poor references.
There are also some limitations that could fit your situation.
- For example, it is allowable to prioritize senior citizens for certain forms of housing or those within a private club or organization.
- You can also find loopholes related to owner-occupied properties that have fewer than four rental units.
- However, these types of rental situations follow narrow rules that must be clearly documented.
What Is Prohibited When It Comes to Discrimination?
If you have Baltimore homes for rent, you are prohibited from refusing to rent the house, negotiate for fair housing opportunities, or otherwise make your property unavailable to those who are in any of the protected classifications under the Fair Housing Act.
You are also not allowed to:
- Set specific terms or different conditions for some renters over others
- Provide a different type or quality of housing for some renters over others
- Falsely state that your property is 'unavailable' because you do not want to rent to someone
- Advertise or make any statement where you are indicating a preference for or limitation against a protected class
- Charging different rental rates for the same property type based on traits belonging to these protected classes
- Pursuing evictions of current residents based on any of the protected classes
- Harassing a person that is in one of these protected classes (for any reason).
It seems on the surface like you might be facing many limitations as a property owner with these restrictions in mind. The reality is that these requirements are designed to protect your renters and give them access to safe housing.
Inadvertent discrimination is still discrimination, and it's easy to avoid when you work with a professional Maryland property management company to list your Baltimore homes and conduct tenant screening.
How DO You Choose the Right Renter for Your Property?
Most property owners want to rent to someone who will pay the bills on time, keep the property in good condition, and maintain the safe environment they have provided. That may not seem like a lot to ask, and at Renters Warehouse, we know it isn't.
That said, you have to use the right language, processes, and steps to ensure that any renter you screen for your property is given a fair chance to meet those expectations.
- One of the best solutions for this problem is to work with a Maryland property management company.
- When you do, you can allow them to provide professional tenant screening services on your behalf.
- That way, you do not have to worry about making key mistakes related to anti-discrimination law.
- Your property management company provides extensive support and experience to help you make the right decisions.
When you rely on Renters Warehouse, we help you find the right renters based on your criteria for renting while following Maryland state law and federal requirements.
Of course, tenant screening services aren't the only way we serve you! As a skilled, full-service property management company, Renters Warehouse is able to provide a wide variety of services to meet your needs as you grow your portfolio in the Maryland area.
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