Tip #104: Keeping it Professional
Many landlords who get into hot water over discrimination complaints aren’t aware their applicant interview questions are inappropriate.
To test whether your tenant interview questions may be offensive–and illegal, go down the list of questions on your interview checklist and ask yourself whether you could –or do, ask each question of every candidate you speak with. If a question seems perfectly fine to you in one scenario, but would seem a little weird in another, chances are you are applying stereotypes.
Keep your interview questions focused on what really matters: will this person pay the rent and take care of the property?
If you are unclear what you can or can’t ask prospects, talk it over with a local attorney first.
It’s always a good idea to keep your interview checklist with you, especially if you often work off-site. Place a copy along with any notes in each tenant file. Also hold on to the records of interviews with applicants who do not become tenants. That way, if you do have to answer to the housing authority, you will have solid documentation to prove you don’t discriminate.
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See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.
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