Being a New York landlord can be a difficult job. Finding good tenants who pay on time and keep the property in reasonably good condition can be a constant struggle. If you end up with a tenant who doesn’t pay and damages the property, evicting them and recovering damages can be difficult or in some cases impossible.
If a landlord can find high-quality tenants at the outset, his or her job becomes much easier. However, it’s not always easy to find good tenants. You can ask the tenant to complete an application, and even run a credit report. However, those steps aren’t foolproof. Often, people may have a clean background but end up as lousy tenants.
When you are sorting through potential tenants, it’s critical that you not discriminate, which is illegal. Under city, state, and federal laws, you cannot deny prospective tenants housing because of their race, sex, family status, partnership status, creed, color, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, immigrant status, source of income, or occupation. In addition, you cannot deny tenants housing because they may have children who will be living with them.
Therefore, although it is legal to run a background check on a potential tenant, ask for references, and run a credit check, you must not discriminate against prospective tenants for those reasons listed above. If you do decide not to rent to a potential tenant, it must be for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, or you could be sued for discrimination.
If you are concerned about how to properly screen potential tenants, while at the same time not breaking any discrimination rules, call the Buffalo New York Landlord Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444.