When it comes to renting real property to residential (as opposed to commercial) tenants, the State of Georgia requires that landlords follow specific rules.
Not complying with the law can lead to costly fines and expensive legal disputes.
One of the more important requirements for landlords is to comply with the anti-discrimination laws.
Discrimination can take many forms and can be one of the most troublesome issues landlords must deal with. Designed to protect individuals from unfairness, even the slightest hint of impropriety can thrust a landlord into an expensive legal dispute. It is therefore important that landlords know and understand the law.
The anti-discrimination laws apply to how a landlord:
- advertises a property for rent
- asks questions on a rental application
- interviews potential tenants
- and deals with tenants when an issue arises.
Basically, in all residential real estate-related transactions, the federal and state anti-discrimination laws proscribe discrimination against a tenant or prospective tenant based on:
- National Origin
- Familial Status (children in the household under age 18)
- Disability (both physical and mental disabilities and includes HIV and AIDS)
These factors listed above are “protected categories” under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended (42 U.S. Code § § 3601-3619 and 3631). Although Georgia landlords are legally free to reject applicants based on a number of things like bad credit history, negative references from previous landlords, or consistently paying rent late, or other factors that make the tenant a bad risk, a landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant based on any of the protected categories listed above.
According to some reports, 60 percent of housing discrimination complaints are based on disability. This is often due to the landlord’s unwillingness to make reasonable accommodations. Only 26% of all housing complaints were related to racial discrimination.
As a landlord, it is important that you protect your interests, but act fairly and in accordance with the law. That’s why it is always advisable to have experienced real estate counsel to assist you.
Experienced. Passionate. Successful.
At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, we practice real estate law in Georgi. It’s what we’ve done since 2001. We handle all aspects of real estate. We have offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia. To schedule your free phone consultation, call 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here, or send inquiries by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.