When screening applicants for a rental property, landlords should always be careful on how they approach the screenings. There are both federal and local laws that protect applicants from discrimination, so make sure to know those well as you set out to find your tenant. Be careful how you refer to the applicants and the way that you approach the questions that they may ask.
In this article, a potential tenant poses a question on if it was discrimination for the landlord to imply that he might have less of a chance at being able to rent the property because he was competing with Google employees. While this does not fit neatly into a specific discrimination category, California does have a couple of categories that, should the applicant wish to pursue this, might line up for it. A landlord may not discriminate based on where the applicant's income is from. Obviously the landlord may require a certain income so as to make sure that their potential tenant can keep up with rent as well as their other obligations, but they may not choose an employed applicant over a retired one strictly for that reason as long as the retired applicant has the appropriate income to cover rent. Another category is something referred to as any 'arbitrary' information. This basically means that the landlord may not choose one applicant over another just because one does not fit a specific look or personality type that he or she is expecting out of their tenant.
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