Federal laws as well as many local laws have been set up to protect potential tenants from discrimination. As a landlord you'll want to take special precautions against even appearing to choose one applicant over another for a reason that might be against the Fair Housing Laws. This means that you cannot refuse to rent to someone strictly on the basis of their race, their color, their national origin, their religion, their sex, their family status, or if they have a disability of any kind. Many local laws will delve deeper into these federal regulations and you will want to be familiar with those as well so as not to give even the appearance of discrimination.
On top of knowing and understand the laws, it's always good to have a policy in place when going through the tenant screening process. If you have that policy written down and you follow it, it will help you to avoid accusations directed towards you. If you make exceptions for people, it may appear as if you're playing favorites and someone may claim discrimination.
As a landlord you'll be asked many questions about your property, especially if you own several units in an apartment complex. Often some of these questions are ones that you legally may not answer. Take a look at a great blog post by BiggerPockets to get a feel for how to answer these questions.
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