Here’s a new one … I got a call about a rental property the other day and the guy asked some appropriate questions about the unit. He sounded like a good candidate. Toward the end of the conversation he asked, “So, do you rent to sex offenders?” Whaaaat?
I hesitated just a moment and said, “Um, I’d have to check with the owner … may I ask, what was the specific violation?”
Silence, then “Deviant behavior.” Hmmm … did he have sex with a goat? Did he expose himself in public? What? I decided to let it be …
“Well, I can check with the owner and you can give me a call maybe some time tomorrow …” He said thanks, and hung up.
First of all, I AM the owner, but I was taken aback and I use this little ploy all the time with my tenants. Most of them don’t know I’m the owner. (It protects me.) Secondly, I’d never been asked that question.
So, do you have to rent to sex offenders? Is it discrimination if you refuse?
The answer is “No” and “No.” You can’t discriminate against anyone regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability. But you CAN discriminate against people you feel will affect your ability to do business in a profitable manner. Sex offenders might fall into this category, right? Others who would?
- People with really loud cars or motorcycles
- People who are dirty
- People who exhibit a nasty attitude toward you
- People who’ve lied on their application or have prior evictions
- People who want to squeeze six people into your two-bedroom house
- People who smoke, do drugs or have pets of any type
- People who have been at their job for a short time
Mr. Sex Offender didn’t call me back. If he had, I would’ve politely told him no and wished him luck as he moved on. Sexual abuse is a huge issue in this country. There’s a Sex Offender Registry that many people check out before they move into a neighborhood and renting to a sex offender would negatively affect my ability to do business. And beyond that, it just wouldn’t feel right.
Onward and upward ………