Owning San Antonio properties is a challenging job; one of the more difficult things you have to deal with is tenants. When you end up with a few bad renters, it can quickly put you in the red.
- Bad residents drain your time, resources, and money.
- Bad renters don’t pay on time—and sometimes they just up and leave!
- Bad tenants are hard on your property, damage things, and may not complete their lease.
With all the problems that this can cause, perhaps you’ve thought you could solve your problems by just allowing certain ‘types’ of tenants that are ‘proven’ to be better placements in a rental property. What about allowing only women to rent your properties?
You have to admit it—females are great renters in many ways! Generally, women are careful with investment properties. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, they tend to be gentler. Plus you’ll never see a woman getting led out of your property in handcuffs—which can bring down the value of your property if word gets around!
Another great thing about female tenants is they may seem to be more careful about paying their rent on time. Plus, let’s face it—they are more pleasant to be around…
Hold it right there!
As tempting as this may be, property owners in San Antonio CANNOT select females and exclude males based on their preferences. This practice is discrimination, and it’s illegal! In fact, let’s take a closer look at the Fair Housing Act to understand what categories are covered under the law.
Quick note: This blog is not legal counsel. If you need real-time assistance, reach out to our San Antonio property managers or a skilled attorney.
What Is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act was established in 1968 and is referred to as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This law protects people from discrimination when they are entering into a real estate transaction. The real estate transaction can be any of the following:
- Buying a home
- Selling a home
- Renting a house
- Getting a mortgage
- Seeking any housing assistance
- Any other type of house-related activities.
The Fair Housing Act makes sure that people are treated fairly and equitably when dealing with any real estate transaction. That means property owners cannot deny people residency in their properties because of some characteristic or belief.
What Types of Categories Are Protected?
The law defines the protected categories explicitly under the Fair Housing Act. They are as follows:
- National Origin
- Familial Status
Gender is one of the protected classes, which means you cannot discriminate against the sexes when determining who is allowed to rent your properties.
‘What Criteria Can I Use Then?’
Although it’s true that you cannot discriminate against someone because of any of the issues mentioned above, you don’t have to accept just anyone! That wouldn’t be a wise move to make. You need to ensure that you get the best tenants for your San Antonio properties.
So, what can you use for criteria when determining whether you accept a prospective tenant’s application? The main determining factors are a person’s creditworthiness and a stable background. Areas you may consider looking at include:
A credit report will provide you with information about your prospective applicants. You’ll also have the credit score, which is an indicator of how well the candidates pay their bills and manage credit. You’ll probably want a credit score of at least 620 to feel comfortable.
Another critical factor is how stable a person’s job is. You can ask for proof of steady income for a while and get a letter from the person’s employer. If a person is a freelancer or self-employed, you may want to obtain documentation showing a steady workflow.
You can check people’s criminal backgrounds to ensure that they have a clean record without any convictions. However, keep in mind that you cannot deny someone if they’ve been arrested but not convicted. An arrest is an action taken against a suspect; a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Regardless of what standards you decide to use, always remember that they must be applied uniformly to every applicant. Failing to apply the same standards across the board could be misconstrued as bias.
Is There a Simplified Way of Screening Tenants?
Using a San Antonio property management company can save yourself a lot of headaches, time, and money. An expert property manager will havescreening tools to weed out tenants who won’t be suitable for your investment properties.
Furthermore, a San Antonio property management company will know the laws, ensuring you don’t fall outside the legal parameters. They will make sure there’s no discrimination, while at the same time sending you the best tenants.
A San Antonio property manager will also handle many other jobs for your investment properties, such as collecting the rent, managing the maintenance calls, marketing your property, accounting, and more!
Although you must stay within the law when bringing in new tenants, a property management company will simplify the process for you by using the proper tenant screening tools. When in doubt, you can always seek the advice of competent legal counsel.
That said, working with property management services to address this issue will only work if you have the right property management company from the start!
If you are interested in having your property managed by Real Property Management Campanas, have more questions, or just want to speak to one of our team members, then contact us online or call us directly at (210) 314-1039 today!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.