Landlord Faces Battle After Rejecting Tenant Over Snow-Shoveling Policy

by Chris on September 19, 2011

A landlord in Wisconsin is facing a lawsuit after rejecting an applicant who she felt could not shovel snow.

According to charges filed by the housing authority, when a single woman called to inquire about renting a house, the female landlord told the applicant that she would not show her the property or rent to her because the tenant would not be living with a man who could shovel snow and maintain the property.

During the investigation, this landlord admitted that she believed a single woman would not be able to handle the “seclusion” of the single-family property as well as the snow-removal policy. The landlord said that she didn’t want the woman calling her all the time to come out to fix things or to plow her out.

The landlord also told a HUD investigator that she never rents to single women with children, “especially not in the country.” The landlord went on to offer her opinions regarding single women to HUD staff several times during the investigation.

She subsequently rented the property to two men.

The case could result in fines, which have proven substantial in previous cases, payment of the government’s attorneys fees, as well as performance mandates such as completing additional training in discrimination policies.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas September 20, 2011 at 8:47 am

If a landlord is stupid enough to say things like this, they clearly deserve to be punished.
There are dozens of ways to reject a prospective tenant without exposing yourself to any litigation.

steve September 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

One of the most important skills of a landlord is knowing how not to sell a place. Hard selling is not always the best way to get a good tenant (I would say a hard sell is in fact rarely the way to go.)

You are a fool if you don’t bring up potential problems that a tenant may have in the future and be very blunt and up front with them. You may think you can get a judgement against a tenant and get them to pay you the rent if they end up hating the place an want to leave. But an angry, hostile tenant in your building is worse than a vacancy.

If you think a place is going to be a problem for a potential tenant then list the potential problems for them, 9 times out of 10 they will say thanks for the honesty and pass on the place. If they still want to rent the place then they normally will not complain about the place because you were very up front with them.

Is the unit in the snow belt and you don’t provide snow removal, tell them it is their responsibility and tell them the going rate to have it removed.

Is it in the boondocks and you think they should not live there on their own then say “This property is in a very secluded location and many people say they are uncomfortable living there, will that be a problem for you?”

If doing that does not scare them off then the place maybe perfect for them and they will be a great long term tenant.

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