Be a Knowledgeable Landlord
As a landlord, you want to conduct your business professionally. That means knowing the law and applying it every step of the way in deciding who will be your tenant. Before you advertise, determine exactly what objective criteria are most important to you and how you will apply them in the process of weeding out prospective tenants within the guidelines of the law.
You might decide, for instance, that every prospect to be considered must have a sound credit history. Your next requirement might be that they have a good employment history. Your third requirement might be that they have an income level that allows them to pay the rent. Or you might base your decision on what their previous landlords told you.
If you rate every prospective tenant in the same order and use only those three to five objective reasons to eliminate the undesirable prospects, you'll be protecting yourself from discrimination complaints. Be sure to put your rating system in writing — documentation is the key ingredient in a successful landlord-tenant experience.
A good business practice is to document every decision you make and every communication you have with your prospects and tenants. Take notes on all conversations and write down the date and time you talked to them. Keep a duplicate of every letter, notice, and agreement in your files.
Avoiding Discrimination Complaints
The best way to prevent discrimination complaints is to be a proactive landlord. Go a step or two beyond what any antidiscrimination act requires. If you have to extensively renovate your unit, think about modifying the apartment so that it is accessible to people with handicaps. When you advertise or talk to prospective tenants, be scrupulous about what you put in writing or say to them.