Legal or Not? 4 Fair Housing Tips for Modesto, CA Landlords

Fair housing in Modesto, CA should never be a guessing game. It’s important that you are fair and consistent in your advertising, screening, and leasing procedures. Some of the most common mistakes made by landlords involve the potential for discrimination. Make sure you know what’s legal and what isn’t.

Selecting Tenants

Property managers maintain a documented set of screening criteria and have a process in place that protects against any potential allegations of discrimination. Don’t jeopardize that by insisting that you choose a tenant. Let your property manager review credit reports, verify income, and talk to previous landlords. The best way to protect yourself and your property is by staying removed from the tenant selection process. That way, no one can accuse you of preferential treatment or discrimination. Property managers know fair housing laws and they keep up on all the changing regulations. They do the best job placing tenants.

Limiting the Number of Tenants in Your Home

The fair housing guidelines state that two people per bedroom plus one more occupant should be permitted in a rental property. That means in a two-bedroom home, five people could move in, and in a three-bedroom property, seven people could live together. As long as the residents meet your screening criteria and qualify to rent the property, you don’t want to limit how many of them move into the house.

Pet Policies

You don’t have to allow pets in your rental property. They are not protected by any fair housing laws. If you want to avoid pets and the potential damage they can do, you should say that in your marketing and advertising. Just make sure you aren’t treating service or companion animals as pets. When you approve a tenant for your home, you have to make accommodations for any disability that they may have, and that can sometimes include service animals. Service animals cannot be considered pets and you cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

Section 8 Rentals

As a landlord, you do not have to allow tenants who are part of the Section 8 program to move into your home. You simply need to be consistent. If you own six properties and want to make one of them available to Section 8 tenants, you’ll need to open all of your properties to the Section 8 program.

Remaining compliant with all federal, state, and local laws is mandatory for property owners. If you need help following the law, contact Valley Oak Property Management.

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