• Among the reasons a landlord might legally turn down an applicant are:
• The landlord cannot verify the applicant’s rental history, after making a good faith effort.
• The landlord cannot verify independently the amount and stability of tenant’s income. (For example: through pay stubs, employer/source contact, or tax records. If self-employed: business license, tax records, bank records, or a list of client references.) For Section 8 applicants, the amount of assistance will be considered part of tenant’s monthly income for purposes of figuring the proportion.
• The applicant has misrepresented any information on the application. If misrepresentations are found after a rental agreement is signed, the tenant’s rental agreement could be terminated.
• The applicant has a criminal record.
• The applicant had a court ordered eviction, or had any judgment for financial delinquency.
• Previous landlords report complaints of non-compliant activity such as repeated disturbance of the neighbors’ peace, reports of prostitution, drug dealing, or drug manufacturing, damage to the property beyond normal wear, reports of violence or threats to landlords or neighbors, allowing persons not on the lease to reside on the premises, or failure to give proper notice when vacating the property.
The above list is only a portion of the reasons a landlord may legally decline a person’s application to rent. If the applicant feels any reference given by a previous landlord was unfair, the applicant can request an opportunity to explain the situation and give alternate references.
A landlord can generally refuse to rent for any reason unless it is a discriminatory reason that violates civil rights laws such as Fair Housing.