Landlords Sued Over Tenant Screening Requirements

 A West Palm Beach, Florida owner and apartment managers are facing a federal lawsuit for requiring school report cards as tenant screening requirement for families.

The Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches filed the lawsuit, alleging the report card requirement violates the Fair Housing Act.

The FHC says that these landlords are imposing burdensome requirements on families. The lawsuit challenges the use of rental applications that require prospective tenants to submit report cards for persons under the age of 18 years old, as well as rules that impose a sundown curfew on persons under the age of 18, requiring kids to be inside or on their patios after sundown.

The properties in question include a 302-unit townhouse development, and a gated community of 402 townhouses and villas, according to a news report. It’s unclear what information the landlords were seeking from the report cards. Tenants with children also were required to provide birth certificates for the kids. Such requirements may be viewed as a violation of tenants’ privacy. The report does not say whether all tenants are required to submit this documentation, but it appears the requirements only applied to families with children.

Landlords are not allowed to impose curfews solely on younger tenants. Another common, but illegal, policy is requiring parents to be home supervising older children.

The FHC sent in testers to investigate these rental communities after seeing a Craigslist ad that listed the report card requirement, according to the report. Testers confirmed the controversial policy was being enforced, and the lawsuit followed.

The center is seeking a monetary award, according to the report.

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