Using Bodytype and Sizeism as accept/deny application criteria

29 Replies

Hello.  We make our application accept/deny criteria very clear to our applicants.  We would like to add a clause that states something to the effect of:   "Your application may be denied if you or anyone residing on premise weighs over 300 Pounds.

Any advice as to the proper way to write this statement?

Any reason we should not add this clause to our accept/deny criteria?

Thank you!


Is this a joke?

I am by no means a bleeding heart but to me your treading on discrimination of the disabled.

I would not recommend putting this in your criteria.

What specific reason do you have for specifically targeting those over 300lbs?

My reasoning: Larger Body Types = More wear and tear on the property.

It looks like this has already been discussed, without resolution,  on bigger pockets:

The overriding theme seems to be to not discriminate based on size.  In my opinion it is no different than discriminating against smokers.  Neither are a protected class.  Though both Fair Housing, and ADA protect the disabled and an arguement could be made that an obese person is a disabled person.

Man whatever attorney gets your tenant's case is going to feel like he hit the jackpot. 

What wear and tear are you actually worried about? Scratching a door frame or some paint on the wall? 

Land lording is a people business man. Are you really going to weigh a tenant and put them through the humiliation of telling them they're too fat for your house? Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds? 

Offended people are the people who are going to complain about you. The tenant tells a judge you made him do a weigh in.... You're going to be what becomes part of the case law on tenant/landlord books. 

Don't worry at all . . . you will not be in business long enough to accept the second tenant.  Highly suggest you sell asap and deposit the change in a savings account where you don't have to deal with people at all.

WOW! This is the most insane and offensive post I've ever seen on BP.

Hope you enjoy your time on your local TV stations investigative reports of the landlord who discriminates on weight.

@Bryan Sowieja You're argument fails for any number of reasons:

1) Legal: what you have overlooked is that while weight may not be a federally protected class, you've forgotten about other jurisdictions. Washington DC, the state of Michigan, and the cities of Madison (WI), Binghamton (NY), Urbana (IL), Santa Cruz (CA), and San Francisco (CA) all prohibit weight discrimination. Perhaps Minnesota is looking to do something similar; if not, I'm sure they will when your policy sees the light of day.

2) Scientific: why 300 lbs? What is different about a person at 280 lbs, or 295 lbs? Do you have anything other than your own prejudice to support a claim about wear-and-tear?

3) Economic: to what wear and tear are you referring? Are you afraid they'll turn a doorknob too hard? Have you quantified what you believe to be the marginal cost of a 300 lbs tenant? You know, most every tenant does make a security deposit...

4) Moral/ethical: "your surname looks Polish. Just because I don't like the smell of grilled kielbasa when I come around, I'm not going to rent to anyone with a Polish last name." That's your reasoning.

5) Your day job: Kennys Vargas (a first baseman you should be familiar with...) weighs 289 lbs, currently. Would you evict him if he gained a few pounds over the holidays and didn't make weight on the first day of spring training?

I make a point of really trying to avoid ad hominem attacks, but this time I just can't help myself. You're a first-class idiot.

I see no problem with this.

LMAO. Is this dude for real? What is your property made of that it can't support over 300lbs? Balsa wood?

It could be considered discrimination as being obese can be a disability.

I'm no lawyer, but if you can add an "ism" to your screening criteria (racism, sexism, etc.)  You are in trouble.  I don't know if this is possible but I would try to have this thread deleted immediately since your name is somewhat unique and Biggerpockets ranks highly in Google.  If you ever are sued for discrimination for any reason I think your comments here would be easy to find and evidence that you have a history of discrimination based on physical characteristics.  

This is so dumb.  This would open you up to so many problems.  For one, what if someone moved in at 275, but them got pregnant. Now they are above 300 pounds because they are pregnant now you would have to evict a pregnant woman because they were pregnant.  Which is a protected class, get a lawyer and write a settlement check.

Now if you don't evict the pregnant women, and you deny someone else for weight you have now set the precedent that 300 isn't a rule.  So if you denied a 300 African American, or Jewish person any lawyer would argue that the real reason was he was black, Jewish etc.  Get a lawyer write a settlement check.

Lastly, you might get sued just for this policy.  They may not be a protected class but someone may sue you anyway. You may win in court, but it may cost you 30k to do so.

Being fat may not be grounds from a discrimination suit but the underlying reason would. There are all kinds of disorders that can cause weight gain. You might as well say:

No one that is bipolar
No one that has diabetes
No one that has clinical depression
No one that has a physical disability

All of these can contribute to weight gain. Do yourself a favor and just worry about whether the tenant can pay the rent.

It will be hard for you to defend your criteria as it is discriminatory.  Some states do treat weight as a protected class and society is not yet on board with limiting the options of obese people.  Being politically correct is one thing, but being a lightening rod for litigation is another.  

I won't provide an analogy as one isn't necessary, but I would never believe that there is a positive business angle here that is compelling enough to add the risk and the grief to your day and your life.  

@Bryan Sowieja ,

I have to agree with Ryan D.

1. You're in the wrong business. Please find another profession where people won't matter.

2. You're going to be a dream for tenant attorneys if you try to stay in REI.

3. Please DON'T try to stay in REI - you'll give the rest of us (another) black eye.

David J Dachtera

"Success is not a destination. Failure is not an event. Success is a process, failure is a choice."
- DJ Benedict

@Bryan Sowieja We all have biases but that doesn't mean you should spell them out in the application. However you're one step closer to qualify for a Hooters franchise.

I'm a bit surprised with some of the responses to this thread.  The original poster asked a question on a help forum.  He deserves answers, not to be called an idiot.  To you, the question may seem stupid.  But to him, he was looking for help.

I'll agree that a better question might be to ask if it were legal to exclude tenants over 300 pounds, or if anyone knew of reasons to avoid excluding them.  But that isn't what he asked.

I've often heard that there were no stupid questions.  But, about now, this guy has to be feeling that there are.

It might be possible to exclude large tenants, if hallways and doors prevent easy passage due to being too narrow (in an old house, for example).  In that case it might be considered a safety issue, especially if it weren't feasible to widen the halls and doors.  

But, in general, I would agree with the views of most posters that the 'wear and tear' argument won't hold up well in a courtroom.  It is poor management to try to find ideal tenants based on arbitrary measurements.  

If that 300# tenant can't meet your minimum credit score requirement, that is one thing (as long as you apply that requirement to ALL tenants).  If they can't provide proper proof of income, or if they have more family members than your municipality allows in your apartment, or if they are felons, sexual predators, or other classes that your locale allows you to restrict applications based on, then good.  

But otherwise, don't try this exclusion.  It won't turn out well for you.

I would just mention the structural integrity of your flooring cannot exceed a weight capacity of 300lbs, any encumbrance above that is a safety hazard.

And almost everyone here is making an assumption that a person weighing 300 lbs is obese.  Granted, there isn't one of these guys on every corner, but I'll remind everyone that Shaquille O'Neal played at 325 lbs.  Most D1 college linemen, along with 95% of the NFL offensive linemen weigh over 300 lbs.  A majority of them can also run the 40 in under 4.7 seconds, so I'd dare you to call them obese.

This ranks right up there at the top of the ridiculous scale for BP posts.

Originally posted by @Steve B. :

I would just mention the structural integrity of your flooring cannot exceed a weight capacity of 300lbs, any encumbrance above that is a safety hazard.

 You better tell them they can't have bookcases, large couches, refrigerators or anything else heavy.    If your floor cannot support 300 pounds your house should probably be condemned.   

@Patrick L. @Hattie Dizmond

Great points.  How about we phrase it something like:

"Healthy, green, environmentally equitable, socially just, cross-fit house for rent.  Tenant should adhere to a healthy lifestyle and perhaps engage in professional sports like football lineman or basketball center.  Those deemed not in proper condition to be actively fit or socially inequitable due to unjust enrichment from consuming more calories than disadvantaged, oppressed, third world applicants have access to will not be considered"

I think that will work well

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here