5 Things You Should Never Talk About With Tenants in Tampa Property Management
1) Do Not Say the Neighborhood is Safe or a Low Crime Area Our Tampa property management company cannot guarantee the neighborhood is safe or low on crime, no one can do this. If something terrible happens to the tenant, they could sue you and hold you liable for making false claims.
1) Do Not Say the Neighborhood is Safe or a Low Crime Area
Our Tampa property management company cannot guarantee the neighborhood is safe or low on crime, no one can do this. If something terrible happens to the tenant, they could sue you and hold you liable for making false claims. I typically tell the tenant to drive through the neighborhood and see for them self. If the neighborhood is a middle class or upper middle class, I would mention this to a prospect. Commenting on the economic condition of an area is perfectly legal.
2) Do Not Answer Any Questions About the Racial or Ethnic Groups in the Area
We all would like to think that racism doesn’t exist, but it is very common for people to ask you if certain racial groups live in the neighborhood. Regardless of how you feel about those groups, you never want to give an answer to this question. This is a violation of federal law because you can be accused of “steering” people in or out of an area based on race.
I simply tell people I cannot answer that type of question because it is illegal to make those sorts of comments as a landlord. The people who usually ask these questions are often terrible tenants, so I really do not care if they rent from me or not.
3) Do Not Say that Kids Are Not Allowed
Once again, this is a violation of Federal law. You cannot discriminate based on children, age, or sex, unless it is a 55+ community. However, the most common mistake new landlords make is not allowing families to apply because the landlord is afraid the kids will do too much damage. You can face huge fines and penalties for discrimination, and judges have no tolerance for this sort of thing.
4) Do Not Call a Tenant’s Home or Work and Leave Messages with People--Not on the Lease-- Stating the Rent has Not Been Paid
It is very easy to let this slip because you are very angry the tenant has been dodging your phone calls and breaking their promises to pay. Sharing this information with people not on the lease is viewed by the Courts as harassment and you can be sued and suffer huge penalties.
5) Dot Not Mention Anything About the Types of Churches in the Neighborhood
Once again, religion is a protected class. If you mention there is a Jewish synagogue across the street from your rental, you are implying there are a lot of Jewish people in the neighborhood. This could be considered “steering.” In my opinion this risk is highly unlikely. If there is a church across the street, I might mention it, but I do not tell them the denomination or name of the church.
These 5 tips will go a long way in keeping you out of trouble with Fair Housing and Federal Discrimination laws. In our Tampa property management company, I ensure my staff knows this stuff cold.