I have a general question about advertising a rental (in Upstate New York) - If I post an apartment listing with certain criteria or stipulations (eg. rent price, pets/no pets, smoking/non-smoking) only to find out that either my rent is too high or I'm leaving out a huge market share of tenants because of a "no pets policy", how can I go about changing my listing criteria without it being considered "discriminatory" against the applicants I have already turned down based on my previous stipulations? Is it even possible to change my criteria this time around?? Thanks in advance for your help!
Delete old ad and place new ad. It is not illegal to change terms depending on the amount of interest, feedback, etc from previous posting.
@Stephen G. as long as you are not discriminating about race.color etc.... you are fine, the things you listed are not.
Thank you everyone for the help!
Being consistent in dealing with all applicants helps protect from exposure to a discrimination lawsuit. If you change your ad bc of market conditions (document this), and it's clear you are not discriminating, you should not have liability exposure. That's not to say someone couldn't file suit against you with a meritless claim. If you rejected an applicant who is in a protected class bc they had a dog in a no dogs advertisement (print and keep old ad), then changed the ad to allow dogs and rented to someone not in a protected class, the rejected applicant could conceivably feel that there was an actionable discrimination. The person could wonder why you didn't call them back when you decided to allow dogs if that was the only reason given for rejection. But I don't think you have liability exposure where you can prove your intent in changing the ad and have documentation, based on what you have stated. Depending on the details, it could help to connect with any rejected applicant who qualifies under the new ad, where the reason for rejection was solely based on the pet prohibition. I assume that if it makes sense to contact any previously rejected tenant to inform them of the policy change, you've already considered this option.
Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in AL, I’m not your attorney. This reply does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. My post was written for informational purposes only. Do not rely on it as legal advice. Always consult with an attorney in your state involving any matter appearing in this forum relating to legal issues.
What about increasing the rent after advertising at a lower rate. After further research I realised that I was discounting the rent too deep below market. I have received (but not processed) several applications for the rent at the lower rate but I would like to return those applications with the fees, due to my desire to raise the asking price. Any suggestions would help!
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