At least in the state of Georgia, landlords can ask pretty much anything they want about the applicant’s financial situation. They can obtain social security numbers. They can run credit reports with the tenant prospect’s consent. If the prospect does not consent, the landlord can simply deny the application, if that is landlord or company policy. The landlord can perform criminal background checks without specific consent. They can ask about the relationships between the proposed occupants and about next of kin. They can obtain current and recent landlord references. They can obtain prospect phone numbers and email addresses. They can ask about the prospect’s employment history and even verify the facts provided with the employer. Essentially, all is fair game.
There are two areas of caution: The landlord has a duty, under federal law, to protect the sensitive information gathered, and to use it only for the purposes for which it was obtained. The landlord also has a duty to draw conclusions about the suitability of each prospect within the purview of federal and state fair housing laws. This means that if the owner is not a natural person, or if the owner owns more than 3 rental properties, the owner cannot make an application decision based upon the 7 protected federal categories: National origin, race, religion, color, sex, familial status, and handicap. AIDS victims are considered to be handicapped. In Georgia, landlords also cannot discriminate based upon sexual preference.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, the landlord must safeguard sensitive information gathered during application process.
So what information is collected is not really the issue. The issue is more about what to do with the information collected. Do you need a reliable property management company in your area? Contact 3 Options now.
Daniel R. Wilhelm
3 Options Realty, LLC.
dan @ 3optionsrealty.com
The author of this Blog is not an attorney. Nothing written should be construed as legal advice. Conclusions conveyed are outcomes based upon practical experience and should not be depended upon to be a common outcome of other similar circumstances.
If you have been rummaging through web results for “property management companies near me,” then you are at the right place. 3 Options Realty’s property managers in Atlanta are experienced and trained to deliver top-tier service. Call 3 Options Realty to speak with a friendly representative today to learn more about our property management & real estate services. We are ready to take your call.
We use professional market research to determine fair-market rent, and we use broad market advertising to reach a large audience. Our agents will also help you prepare your property and skillfully present your property. Prospective tenants will undergo comprehensive interviews and background screening before we negotiate with them the rental agreement using our proprietary, attorney-reviewed forms.