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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 

In a small town in Oregon, I have applications (two adults - same party) and a check for the app fees.  I met with them and answered their questions about the process of screening - then what - then what.  It was clear they WANT to sign a lease.  At the time, they seemed to be potential candidates and I answered their questions politely. 

After they left - I was able to more closely review the apps and found they were both missing a bit of information.  I emailed them and said because of the number of missing fields, I was asking them to re-submit fully completed applications and I would hold/not cash the check as I can't consider the applications completed.

In the mean time (all in the period of a day), after I met with these potential renters,  in this small community, a reputable acquaintance has shared with me that they are familiar with this party and they would not be good tenants based on the fact that they are aware of them leaving another rental unit in bad condition....not easy to work with and not respectful of property.

This party that has applied to rent has made it completely clear that they want to lease the house and I know, will want an explanation if I suddenly stop the process of the app/the screening, etc. (after I get completed applications).

I would like send a message to end the transaction - "I am not choosing to rent to you".  I'd prefer not to cash their check and return it to them.  But I'm trying to determine legally what I'm required to do - or if I can do that.

Is it legal to deny tenancy based on a non-provided reference - meaning a personal account of their past tenancy but from a source of someone other that who they supplied as a reference?

Note - I really can't simply say that I chose another tenant over them - in small communities - these things are transparent.

Note - not responding to them I don't think will work.  They are very assertive.

Any advice on what I do, and what I say.

cs temp

Posts: 445
Reply with quote  #2 
You need to read Oregon's LL/tenant laws!  Read them over several times--it will be one of the most worthwhile 3 hrs you spend-- and could save you thousands.  Google ORS 90 and use the state website.

I am an Oregon landlord- I read the code through at least once a year-- they change. 

from the ORS90;

  90.304 Statement of reasons for denial; remedy for noncompliance. (1) If a landlord requires an applicant to pay an applicant screening charge and the application is denied, or if an applicant makes a written request following the landlord’s denial of an application, the landlord must promptly provide the applicant with a written statement of one or more reasons for the denial.

      (2) The landlord’s statement of reasons for denial required by subsection (1) of this section may consist of a form with one or more reasons checked off. The reasons may include, but are not limited to, the following:

      (a) Rental information, including:

      (A) Negative or insufficient reports from references or other sources.

      (B) An unacceptable or insufficient rental history, such as the lack of a reference from a prior landlord.

      (C) A prior action for possession under ORS 105.105 to 105.168 that resulted in a general judgment for the plaintiff or an action for possession that has not yet resulted in dismissal or general judgment.

      (D) Inability to verify information regarding a rental history.

      (b) Criminal records, including:

      (A) An unacceptable criminal history.

      (B) Inability to verify information regarding criminal history.

      (c) Financial information, including:

      (A) Insufficient income.

      (B) Negative information provided by a consumer credit reporting agency.

      (C) Inability to verify information regarding credit history.

      (d) Failure to meet other written screening or admission criteria.

      (e) The dwelling unit has already been rented.

      (3) If a landlord fails to comply with this section, the applicant may recover from the landlord $100. [2005 c.391 §31]


Posts: 58
Reply with quote  #3 

The Rent Rite Directory offers a free Rental History database to Property Managers and Owners that allows members to input as well as search evictions (before they hit public record), tenants who skip out on rent/collections, proxy renters (those who rent on behalf of unauthorized tenants ie: drug dealers, sex offenders, convicted felons), those who commit lease violations, property damage, and on-property crime. Please help share information with other Real Estate Professionals. 


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #4 
Is it legal in California for a  landlord to deny possible tenants on the grounds of criminal history?

Posts: 125
Reply with quote  #5 

The answer to your question is yes.  CA doesn't have any laws the prohibit a landlord from discriminating against or denying prospective tenants due to criminal backgrounds. The primary rules that you're required to abide by are from HUD:

The state of CA references this code and additionally states:

Unlawful housing discrimination can take a variety of forms. Under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unruh Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful for a landlord, managing agent, real estate broker, or salesperson to discriminate against any person because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to them, as well as gender and perception of gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, medical condition, or age in any of the following ways:

  • Refusing to sell, rent, or lease.
  • Refusing to negotiate for a sale, rental, or lease.
  • Representing that housing is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when it is, in fact, available.
  • Otherwise denying or withholding housing accommodations.
  • Providing inferior housing terms, conditions, privileges, facilities, or services.
  • Harassing a person in connection with housing accommodations.
  • Canceling or terminating a sale or rental agreement.
  • Providing segregated or separated housing accommodations.
  • Refusing to permit a person with a disability, at the person with a disability's own expense, to make reasonable modifications to a rental unit that are necessary to allow the person with a disability "full enjoyment of the premises." As a condition of making the modifications, the landlord may require the person with a disability to enter into an agreement to restore the interior of the rental unit to its previous condition at the end of the tenancy (excluding reasonable wear and tear).
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when necessary to allow a person with a disability "equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling" (for example, refusing to allow a person with a disability's companion or service dog).38

See also: 

Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #6 
The absolute best way to deny a rental application is not to say anything. Never charge an application fee.  And if you want to say something, just say the rental unit is no longer available. PERIOD.
__________________ is the most advanced, FREE website to auction/sell non-performing Civil Judgements and Mortgage Notes to a nationwide network of highly skilled investors and judgement recovery specialists.

Posts: 125
Reply with quote  #7 
Please consider that it is illegal and considered discriminatory to tell a prospective tenant that a rental unit is unavailable when it actually is before taking the previous posts advice.
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