A new duplex investor and owner occupant recently asked if she could refuse to rent to a prospective tenant because her intuition told her something wasn’t right.
Unfortunately, state and federal law require duplex owners to a factual reason to disqualify an applicant for a rental unit.
Federally, this logical reason cannot be due to: race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age sex or familial status.
Many states take this even further. In Minnesota, for example, duplex owners may not refuse to rent to someone based on all of the already mentioned reasons, as well as: creed, marital status, public assistance or sexual orientation.
So what legal reasons are there to refuse renting a vacant unit to someone?
Poor credit or an apparent inability to pay rent. It’s a good idea to have a written policy as to what minimum credit score you’re willing to consider for tenancy.
A criminal background.
In my new duplex owner’s case, it was the last item that validated her intuition.
It seems the prospective tenant’s fiance was wanted in another state; for the disappearance of a child– which came as a surprise even to the woman applying to rent the duplex!