Landlord Nightmare

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edudumb
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:48 pm

Landlord Nightmare

Post by edudumb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:13 pm

We live in a college town, and own a few properties to rent exclusively to college students for the whole academic year. Most of our tenants are international students, so we usually don't do tenant screen/ application.

A guy (not international) contacted us last month saying that he's graduated but the new job was starting later than he hoped, he wanted our place for only Fall semester and also for much cheaper than we listed. We said no because the housing demand is much lower in Spring than in Fall.

This guy contacted us again last week through a different channel asking for a room for the whole academic year. We recognized him, got suspicious, and asked for proof that he'd be committed to a whole a-year lease. He said he's working as a lab assistant at the college now, but is unable to provide an employment contract. His sister, a PhD student at the same college, stepped in, and said she'd cosign. We agreed.

When we've prepared the lease and cosigner agreement to the two of them, the guy now said he's talked with his mom and that the mom would cosign instead. We said the mom's not affiliated with the college, so we'd need a tenant screen on mom/ son instead at their cost. The guy said he'd discuss with his mom and sis, and asked how much he'd owe to move in next week. We asked for a deposit, and that was it.

Nightmare began when out of the blue the guy and the sis texted us (they called us but we didn't pick up) saying that it was "housing discrimination" and we were "harassing" and "insulting" them and asking "intrusive questions." They posted reviews saying the same thing on our FB page (which we very much care about but don't really use), and now they're threatening to sue us...

All our conversations happened through text messages, and we responded whenever they asked a question. There were only 15-20 texts.

We know we're in the clear, and some kids are just crazy for no reason. They don't even have $500 for the deposit/ rent, so we doubt if they'd sue for real.

Just wanted to ask what other landlords would do in the same situation? We don't really do tenant app as said, but what troubles would we get if we ask tenants' for the job/ income proof (how "intrusive" is that...)? We told this guy we'd do SmartMove (to avoid asking for SSN and such), and now we were accused of "insulting" and "discriminating".

We're tempted to post the screenshots of our text conversations to the FB group to take care of the crazy reviews, but we wonder if we'd get into troubles for releasing private conv to the public. We really care about the FB page, and the two of them now wrote something untrue for whoever would look us up on FB.

In this world, it seems that we just can get sued for any reason.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

taojaxx
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by taojaxx » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:23 pm

Which landlord does not ask for proof of income/ proof of employment?
Sounds like empty threats to me. Get in touch with a real estate attorney though: good opportunity to get to know one even though I don't expect you'll need one on this, besides (maybe) him drafting a response.

barnaclebob
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Post screenshots but blur out any personal info.

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dm200
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:28 pm

I would not do anything before consulting an attorney. I know/knew a guy like that - gave lots of folks real nightmares.

knightrider
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by knightrider » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:44 pm

I would never have responded to their first inquiry. Asking for a lower rent is a big red flag and should not warrant any response..

At this point I would block their numbers and ignore them. No point wasting any more time on this.

jminv
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by jminv » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:46 pm

Since they are claiming discrimination, I would want to first consult with an attorney before responding to any claims.

As far as facebook goes, I would encourage satisfied renters to post positive, legitimate reviews to 'drown out' the negative review. Only respond to the negative review depending on what the lawyer suggests. I wouldn't post the text messages but instead use a short summary of why you disagree with the review. If you post the text messages, it could perpetuate the issue since they can then claim that important context is missing and you could inadvertantly expose personal information which could create more issues. Although it hasn't been mentioned here yet, I also wouldn't consider suing them to take it down since that could create a lot of negative publicity on a sensitive topic, not to mention costs. Another method would be to flag the review, but Facebook would be unlikely to take it down except temporarily while it was reviewed.

It sounds like you might also want to adopt a more uniform renting process.

middistancerunner
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by middistancerunner » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:48 pm

Do you have other positive feedback on the FB page? Personally I would avoid engaging on the FB page if you can avoid it... maybe pursue options to get it removed instead.

When I see businesses post a rebuttal to unsatisfied customers on Yelp/FB it often makes them come off badly to me... as another consumer I am unable to adjudicate the details of the conflict and so it usually makes both sides look bad and petty. Sure, you might have screenshots, but they could be doctored or you could be leaving out key details or you might have said something horrible on a phone call. Hard for me to say... your word against theirs. So I think a response, if any, has to be extremely carefully worded and demonstrate that you are gracious and the bigger person. I'm evaluating your character when reading the response, not delving into the specifics of the conflict.

If you have lots of other positive feedback, maybe best to ignore. As a consumer I'd probably ignore the one bad posting. I understand some customers are crazy. What matters to me is how you handle yourself.

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knpstr
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by knpstr » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm

You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
Last edited by knpstr on Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nate79
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Nate79 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:51 pm

I think you should get more serious about how you are handling your rental business.

PVW
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by PVW » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:58 pm

edudumb wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:13 pm
Nightmare began when out of the blue the guy and the sis texted us (they called us but we didn't pick up) saying that it was "housing discrimination" and we were "harassing" and "insulting" them and asking "intrusive questions." They posted reviews saying the same thing on our FB page (which we very much care about but don't really use), and now they're threatening to sue us...
Of those terms that you've quoted, only "housing discrimination" implies that you've done anything illegal. The rest are just an opinion of your actions. They are entitled to their opinion. I am not a lawyer, but if they are claiming housing discrimination and you can prove otherwise, you might have a case for libel and a scary letter from a lawyer might get them to remove the comment.

But really, if it were me, I'd respond politely and with enough detail that readers will understand the potential tenant did not appear to be dependable. Deny their specific claims of discrimination, harassment, etc. without argument and just leave it at that. Starting a facebook feud won't look good to future tenants.

Something like:

We are sorry that we couldn't come to an acceptable leasing arrangement to fit your situation. We tried to accommodate your changing timeline and efforts to find a suitable cosigner, but in the end we must stand by our leasing standards. We do not discriminate and embrace our diverse student community.

knightrider
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by knightrider » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:13 pm

PVW wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:58 pm
But really, if it were me, I'd respond politely and with enough detail that readers will understand the potential tenant did not appear to be dependable.
They have been indulging them all along which is why they have got to this point. The more you communicate with such types, the more entitled they feel. I would not communicate anything more with them. They are making empty threats. No need to see any lawyer to tell you that.

clutchied
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by clutchied » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:15 pm

I learned a couple of lessons early on; some costly some less so...


I now screen a bit more thoroughly.

I don't ever engage with a single individual; meaning if they say they want the place I don't ever agree. I just say "please fill out and send me the application". I let them know I'm collecting other applications as well. I had 3 people show up for a showing at the same time and it got a little uncomfortable as the current group totally felt compelled to take the place immediately and the other party was pissed b/c they didn't get a chance to even see it after driving out there. (totally my fault and my inexperience). I now only do open house showings. Ex: open from 2-4pm Sunday.

I don't ever call deposits deposits anymore. It's just first and last months rent as in some places you can't take certain costs out of deposits like missed rent. That might just be semantics but it's stated that way in the lease agreement.

I don't do month to month anymore without a bump in rent as we have winter here and nobody moves in during that time but sometimes people do move out.

ddurrett896
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:34 pm

knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
I’m assuming you can change the process, just not go back and forth. Simple solution: start using the new process on everyone.

Rupert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Rupert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:41 pm

PVW wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:58 pm

But really, if it were me, I'd respond politely and with enough detail that readers will understand the potential tenant did not appear to be dependable. Deny their specific claims of discrimination, harassment, etc. without argument and just leave it at that. Starting a facebook feud won't look good to future tenants.

Something like:

We are sorry that we couldn't come to an acceptable leasing arrangement to fit your situation. We tried to accommodate your changing timeline and efforts to find a suitable cosigner, but in the end we must stand by our leasing standards. We do not discriminate and embrace our diverse student community.
+1. Do that and then never communicate with the guy or anyone connected with him again.

pennywise
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by pennywise » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:45 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:34 pm
knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
I’m assuming you can change the process, just not go back and forth. Simple solution: start using the new process on everyone.
+1000

As others have said you must have a legally-vetted system in place. I also learned this through trial and error although fortunately things turned out ok. We inherited a house and after remodeling it I rented it to my daughter and several young women she knew in a friends and family sweetheart deal. Typed up a lease I found online but looking back it was all pretty slapdash. For example I 'included' the utilities in the rent which actually meant I was paying that out of the below market rental I was charging and more importantly nobody in the house had any incentive whatsoever not to keep the rooms iced down throughout hellish Miami summers and through temperate Miami fall/spring/winter LOL. I gave each tenant a separate lease so I was getting 4 individual rental payments each month. Fortunately (though it didn't seem so at the time) personality conflicts ended up causing the other tenants to move out at the end of a year much to my relief.

After that I hired a realtor who is a neighborhood expert. She provided much needed expertise including standard leases, doing credit checks on ALL applicants, and advising me on how to charge and manage rental deposits AKA first/last/damages. She charged me one month's rent as a fee and it was money very well spent.

Moral of the story: if you are going to be a landlord, do it properly and legally including finding skilled professionals to advise you on how to do that.

rterickson
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by rterickson » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:37 pm

Can't you delete FB posts from your own page? I know you can with a personal account.

edudumb
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by edudumb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:03 pm

knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
We have only one screen. We rent only to students who attend the university (a reputable one); it's a college town in a very low-cost area. Attending the univ is a good enough signal to us, and we usually just ask for their student proof (admission letter and student ID). We can't do any app process because most students don't even have SSN to begin with.

In this particular case, this guy has graduated and got a new job somewhere. We already said no in the first place. When he came back to us the second time, he told us he's got a job at the univ and his sis (a PhD student) offered to cosign (we didn't even ask). So we asked for both their student proof, and all they had to do was to have the sister sign the cosigner agreement. It was simply just that. Up till that point, they both were very polite and eager to rent the place.

When we've drafted up a cosigner agreement, he went all like "ma'm, now I've talked with my mother, and she'll cosign." We said, "having your sister to cosign is good enough for us. If your mom cosigns and she's not affiliated with the univ [most parents are not from this town/ state anyway], it'd be difficult for us to keep track." Then he said, "I sign the lease, not you. I told you my mom will cosign, not my sis anymore." In our process, we only ask for student proof, and his mom isn't a student. We got so suspicious at that point (esp his sis bailed out cosigning for him), so we just said we'd have to do SmartMove if your mom cosigns. He said he'd discuss with his mom and sis, but the next thing we heard was those "you are harassing us asking us intrusive questions, it's housing discrimination" msgs from the guy and his sis.

:oops: :oops: :oops:

edudumb
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by edudumb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:06 pm

middistancerunner wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Do you have other positive feedback on the FB page? Personally I would avoid engaging on the FB page if you can avoid it... maybe pursue options to get it removed instead.

When I see businesses post a rebuttal to unsatisfied customers on Yelp/FB it often makes them come off badly to me... as another consumer I am unable to adjudicate the details of the conflict and so it usually makes both sides look bad and petty. Sure, you might have screenshots, but they could be doctored or you could be leaving out key details or you might have said something horrible on a phone call. Hard for me to say... your word against theirs. So I think a response, if any, has to be extremely carefully worded and demonstrate that you are gracious and the bigger person. I'm evaluating your character when reading the response, not delving into the specifics of the conflict.

If you have lots of other positive feedback, maybe best to ignore. As a consumer I'd probably ignore the one bad posting. I understand some customers are crazy. What matters to me is how you handle yourself.
We have a FB page just to show pictures. But we had zero reviews/ comments before these two people posting some untrue reviews saying we harassed them (?!).

delamer
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by delamer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:11 pm

Is the guy actually a member of a minority group?

edudumb
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by edudumb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:15 pm

pennywise wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:45 pm
ddurrett896 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:34 pm
knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
I’m assuming you can change the process, just not go back and forth. Simple solution: start using the new process on everyone.
+1000

As others have said you must have a legally-vetted system in place. I also learned this through trial and error although fortunately things turned out ok. We inherited a house and after remodeling it I rented it to my daughter and several young women she knew in a friends and family sweetheart deal. Typed up a lease I found online but looking back it was all pretty slapdash. For example I 'included' the utilities in the rent which actually meant I was paying that out of the below market rental I was charging and more importantly nobody in the house had any incentive whatsoever not to keep the rooms iced down throughout hellish Miami summers and through temperate Miami fall/spring/winter LOL. I gave each tenant a separate lease so I was getting 4 individual rental payments each month. Fortunately (though it didn't seem so at the time) personality conflicts ended up causing the other tenants to move out at the end of a year much to my relief.

After that I hired a realtor who is a neighborhood expert. She provided much needed expertise including standard leases, doing credit checks on ALL applicants, and advising me on how to charge and manage rental deposits AKA first/last/damages. She charged me one month's rent as a fee and it was money very well spent.

Moral of the story: if you are going to be a landlord, do it properly and legally including finding skilled professionals to advise you on how to do that.
We do exactly what you did in the past! LOL

We do individual leases. Because most of what we own are shared houses, we cover utilities but charge above market value. Utilities are expensive so we just installed wifi thermostats in each house to have some control. Houses are cheap, so we still make a good profit. Doing individual leases is a lot of work. We tried to hire realtors, but they did not want to do furnishing housing on room basis. We figure that if we rent on house basis (instead of room), we lost more than 50% profits, so we are still doing it ourselves. So far things have been going well, except we always had one or two who changed their minds and wanted to break the leases.

jalbert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by jalbert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:22 pm

We have only one screen. We rent only to students who attend the university (a reputable one); it's a college town in a very low-cost area.
You need to talk to an attorney who practices landlord-tenant law in your state, both for advice on how to handle the particular situation you posted about, and to evaluate your screening procedures. I don’t think a fair housing complaint needs to establish intent to discriminate to succeed, only that the effect of your actions and policy leads to discrimination.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

edudumb
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by edudumb » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:23 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:11 pm
Is the guy actually a member of a minority group?
We don't know. We've never met him. He contacted us through the listing website the first time, and we said no to him (not because of who he is, simply because he said he wanted the room for only one sem, and we explained it to him). Then he contacted our existing tenant (who's living in the house but wanted to break the lease to live with other friends), and the two of them arranged a room visit without us (we were fine with that). After seeing the room, the guy was so eager to rent our room and contacted us to sign the lease. It was then we found out that it was the same guy who's contacted us before.

From his FB (we saw it only because he's posted on our FB page), it seems that he's from the same state.

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camillus
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by camillus » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:34 pm

edudumb wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:23 pm
We don't know. We've never met him.
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:51 pm
I think you should get more serious about how you are handling your rental business.
Sounds like you will have a negative review. I am not sure about the advice to lawyer-up. That might be going overboard. Evict this person, block them, manage your FB page as best as you can. If someone is threatening you - with legal action - when you are trying to do due diligence, time to seperate yourself from them with definitive steps. THEY are harassing YOU. You are in a business where interpersonal conflict is inevitable. If you can't successfully navigate conflict, think twice about being a landlord. (I am speaking strongly from the anonymous comfort of the internet.)

delamer
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by delamer » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:51 pm

edudumb wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:23 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:11 pm
Is the guy actually a member of a minority group?
We don't know. We've never met him. He contacted us through the listing website the first time, and we said no to him (not because of who he is, simply because he said he wanted the room for only one sem, and we explained it to him). Then he contacted our existing tenant (who's living in the house but wanted to break the lease to live with other friends), and the two of them arranged a room visit without us (we were fine with that). After seeing the room, the guy was so eager to rent our room and contacted us to sign the lease. It was then we found out that it was the same guy who's contacted us before.

From his FB (we saw it only because he's posted on our FB page), it seems that he's from the same state.
If he isn’t part of a protected group, then you can’t be discriminating. If he is, but you didn’t know it then I don’t know if tgat is a defense.

Is there any reason that you can’t take down your Facebook page until this is settled?

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Meg77
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Meg77 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:03 pm

Fellow small time landlord here. I don't think you have anything to be suspicious about here. Some people are just rude/crazy. This just sounds like an entitled young person who got frustrated that he couldn't get his way or couldn't get this done quickly enough. He's probably dealing with family drama. You have zero to worry about from a legal perspective; requesting a tenant screen on the mother is not illegal or harassment or discrimination. Let them hire a lawyer if they want to and try to prove otherwise. They won't.

Regarding the facebook page - that is a problem. Your only review is a bad one. I'd definitely post a polite response saying you have no idea what harasment or discrimination they are referring to. Declare that you welcome tenants from all walks of life, including international students and others who may not have credit history or standard forms of US identification. I don't think I'd post the screen shots unless things escalate.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

pascal
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by pascal » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:08 pm

They are fishing.

Ignore them.
"Never underestimate the ability of a bad situation to get worse...rapidly." Ninegrams

jalbert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by jalbert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:09 pm

If he isn’t part of a protected group, then you can’t be discriminating. If he is, but you didn’t know it then I don’t know if that is a defense.
Regardless of the present situation, would a policy of only renting to university students have the effect, unintended or otherwise, of age discrimination?
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

Rupert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Rupert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:12 pm

jalbert wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:09 pm
If he isn’t part of a protected group, then you can’t be discriminating. If he is, but you didn’t know it then I don’t know if that is a defense.
Regardless of the present situation, would a policy of only renting to university students have the effect, unintended or otherwise, of age discrimination?
Not so long as old people can apply to be university students.

jalbert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by jalbert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:16 pm

So, I can just maintain student status at zero cost to me for the purposes of renting an apartment?
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

ddurrett896
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:17 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:51 pm
If he isn’t part of a protected group, then you can’t be discriminating.
What is a protected group?

Loik098
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Loik098 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:24 pm

edudumb wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:06 pm
We have a FB page just to show pictures. But we had zero reviews/ comments before these two people posting some untrue reviews saying we harassed them (?!).
Not a FB user, but if these comments are the only thing on your page, can't you just delete the current page and start over with another one (one that is more tightly controlled not to allow comments, for example), or just use another social platform altogether?

This also begs the question: how do you monitor traffic to your page? Do you get a lot of hits from it? Does anyone even look at it? Might be worth starting with this question before deciding whether a response is even worthwhile.
Last edited by Loik098 on Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rupert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Rupert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:24 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:17 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:51 pm
If he isn’t part of a protected group, then you can’t be discriminating.
What is a protected group?
A group of people protected from discrimination or harassment by the Constitution or some other law, policy, or regulation. See generally https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_group .

jalbert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by jalbert » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:48 pm

Everyone is in one or more protected classes.
Landlords cannot discriminate on the basis of marital or family status— can’t discriminate against single people or against married people as examples.

The question is whether the landlord’s practices discriminate against the person because they discriminate against a protected class in which the prospective tenant is a member.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

rooms222
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by rooms222 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:29 pm

This report from City of Syracuse Fair Housing is a study that puts forth that stating ¨Students Preferred¨ or only renting to students is Housing Discrimination. http://cnyfairhousing.org/wp-content/up ... tFINAL.pdf

It was funded by HUD. It also states that on it´s face, students by themselves are not a protected class, and the discrimination that occurs is usually familial status discrimination with children.

Changing the cosigner from another student to another family member may be stated to be a form of familial status discrimination, i.e. you are ok with two students living in the apartment, but not a student and his mother. Your case is stronger, I think, because neither cosigner was going to live in the apartment.

Even if they pushed it, I think you would go through an unpleasant investigation by HUD or a local housing authority, but not be found guilty of discrimination. If the cosigners were going to live in the apartment, it could have been a case of familial status discrimination.

May you not be the test case to expand the law.
Last edited by rooms222 on Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

denovo
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by denovo » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:44 pm

I wish people responding to landlord question threads would disclose whether or not they are landlords/lawyers.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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dm200
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by dm200 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:45 pm

denovo wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:44 pm
I wish people responding to landlord question threads would disclose whether or not they are landlords/lawyers.
yes

denovo
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by denovo » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:46 pm

edudumb wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:13 pm


In this world, it seems that we just can get sued for any reason.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

He's not going to sue you.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

6 dollar ribs
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by 6 dollar ribs » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:53 pm

knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
You are not allowed to have separate qualifications for black people, but you are certainly allowed to have separate qualifications for people you suspect only want to rent for half the year then break the lease based on your previous interaction with them.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:02 pm

If you do business with the public enough, you will run into a young adult that is testing their boundaries and follows this pattern. In my experience, once they realize their tactics don't work, they quickly move on to bother someone else.

The last time we responded how their mistake was their responsibility, and we never heard from them again. (It was a medical school student attempting to shake us down, which was surprising. :-) )

Disclaimer: I know nothing about being a landlord.

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by eye.surgeon » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:43 pm

All I'm going to say is my REIT never posts negative reviews on my facebook page.
"I would rather be certain of a good return than hopeful of a great one" | Warren Buffett

denovo
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by denovo » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:41 am

knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
If I ask for w-2 for people who are employed, but tax returns for self-employed , am I "discriminating" i.e. breaking a law?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Poppy1234
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Poppy1234 » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:37 am

What you have is not a nightmare. It’s inexperience. How long have you been in the rental business? My advice is to say “We will cease all direct communication at this point. Please have your lawyer contact me directly regarding all future communication.” Let’s see if they ever follow through.

boglerdude
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by boglerdude » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:04 am

Get out of the biz if this is a "nightmare"
eye.surgeon wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:43 pm
All I'm going to say is my REIT never posts negative reviews on my facebook page.
So frustrating that the threads raving about rentals compared to VTSMX never include the horror stories

cheesepep
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by cheesepep » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:01 am

I was a landlord before renting in a low-income primarily hispanic area. I was showing a house for open house one day for prospective buyers, who, if interested, fill out a personal information form. The personal information form asked for SSN (optional( for, I guess, income check verification (which I never do). It was a generic form printed off the internet. A white older lady came and pretended to be interested in the house and asking all sorts of questions and took an application form to fill out. She started acting crazy and saying it was illegal to ask for SSN and saying that she was going to take us to court and taking the form with her in her car (while making a huge fuss over it by yelling) and driving off. Nothing happened though.

student
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by student » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:23 am

boglerdude wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:04 am
Get out of the biz if this is a "nightmare"
eye.surgeon wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:43 pm
All I'm going to say is my REIT never posts negative reviews on my facebook page.
So frustrating that the threads raving about rentals compared to VTSMX never include the horror stories
You must have missed the thread a few years ago about a rental who got evicted and called a locksmith to move back in. It was quite a long thread. I tried to search for it but I was unsuccessful.

Rupert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:57 am

denovo wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:41 am
knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
If I ask for w-2 for people who are employed, but tax returns for self-employed , am I "discriminating" i.e. breaking a law?
I don't think so because you're asking both groups for proof of income. If you only asked African-Americans or Hispanics for proof of income and did not ask white people for that same information, then, yes, you are discriminating.

Rupert
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:58 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:45 pm
denovo wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:44 pm
I wish people responding to landlord question threads would disclose whether or not they are landlords/lawyers.
yes
Lawyers usually don't want to be perceived as giving legal advice so they usually won't identify themselves as being lawyers.

criticalmass
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by criticalmass » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:39 am

rooms222 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:29 pm
This report from City of Syracuse Fair Housing is a study that puts forth that stating ¨Students Preferred¨ or only renting to students is Housing Discrimination. http://cnyfairhousing.org/wp-content/up ... tFINAL.pdf

It was funded by HUD. It also states that on it´s face, students by themselves are not a protected class, and the discrimination that occurs is usually familial status discrimination with children.
A city report is not a legal precedent, nor does it establish protected classes for a court.

Changing the cosigner from another student to another family member may be stated to be a form of familial status discrimination, i.e. you are ok with two students living in the apartment, but not a student and his mother. Your case is stronger, I think, because neither cosigner was going to live in the apartment.
A cosigner by definition is not a tenant and does not live in the apartment, so I don't think familial status would apply here.

I would strongly caution the original poster to maintain the same standards and processes for ALL prospective tenants and applicants. A location near a college does exempt one from federal fair housing laws and your state requirements. Allowing your process to vary between applicants can be expensive and expose you to a successful discrimination claim.

Regarding the comment on security deposits---Note that some states clearly state what money you can collect (e.g. first month's rent, key, last month's rent, and security deposit), how each of these can specifically be used, what the requirements are for keeping last month's rent and/or security deposits in separate bank accounts, what interest rate must be paid on last month's rent and security deposits (if not in separate interest bearing account), and what the requirements are for deducting from the security deposit in case of damage. Confusing last month's rent and a security deposit or using them interchangeably can be very expensive for novice landlords in many states. State requirements do vary widely. Fair housing anti-discrimination federal laws do not.

Atilla
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by Atilla » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:57 am

If it's your facebook page, just nuke his negative comments. They were never there. Done.
The Village Idiot - here for your entertainment.

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knpstr
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Re: Landlord Nightmare

Post by knpstr » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:59 am

denovo wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:41 am
knpstr wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:50 pm
You cannot change the application process. If you normally do not do a "tenant screen/application" you can't just do one on a person randomly. Treat everyone the same.

You can't have a separate policies/qualifications for different groups of people. That is discrimination.
If I ask for w-2 for people who are employed, but tax returns for self-employed , am I "discriminating" i.e. breaking a law?
No, you are asking for proof of income from all of your tenants, so you are treating them all the same.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

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