Could Your Landlord Be Secretly Discriminating? How to Tell

Could Your Landlord Be Secretly Discriminating? How to Tell

A Phoenix, Az. landlord shelled out $15,000 to settle claims he discriminated openly against families with children.

In the land of renter's rights, that's a big no-no, right up there with turning away prospective tenants based on race, gender or ethnicity.

To catch Morris Zelikovsky in the act, regulators had a mother and son go undercover, pretending to look for a two-bedroom apartment. Zelikovsky quoted them $775 for a space advertised for $740.

Later, he offered the rate as-advertised to a different woman with no children, "while telling a tester who inquired later that day whether children were welcome, 'It’s just going to be higher at $775 a month,'" HUD reports.

The problem is not all landlords are as blatantly discriminatory as this goon (he posted ads on Craigslist for apartments available to "two adults").

Here are five sneaky ways they might word questions to weed out unwanted tenants, per YM contributor BrickUnderground:

  1. Do you plan to have kids? or Do you plan to have more kids? 
  2. Where are you from originally?  Apartment operators or co-op boards don't really need to know about your roots and no matter how friendly they might seem, you never know whether your answer might cause them to suddenly lose your phone number.
  3. To a single buyer: Are you dating anybody? Again, you can't be turned away for being single. If a landlord's too interested in your personal life, chances are he's looking for reasons to slam the door in your face.
  4. Will you be requiring any extra assistance from the building staff? This is a coy way to feel out how much of a burden a disabled tenant might be.
  5. Do you cook with a lot of curry? "Cooking odors may be a hot button issue in your building," real estate attorney Robert Braverman told the site. "But if the candidate is of obvious foreign descent, this could be seen as evidence of discrimination based on national origin."

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