Can i decline an applicant due to the number to occupants?

8 Replies

Hello BP Community!

There are a few threads about this topic, but I haven't found one specific for my scenario. 

I have two applicants, both meet all minimum qualification standards. One applicant will be living with 3 other adults (4 adults total), the other applicant will be living with another adult (2 total). 

I am leaning to rent to the 2 person over the 4 person applicant, due to wear and tear on the house. 

Is it legal to decline an applicant due to the number to occupants, if there is another applicant with fewer occupants that meet the min qualification standards?

The home is a 3/2 so technically it can house 6 people. House is in Florida.

The 4 person applicant also has pets. The 2 person applicant does not have pets.

Is it legal to decline an applicant if they have pets since there is another applicant with no pets?

I allow pets in my property. 

Any feedback two my two questions would be much appreciated!

Thank you all

It's your property, it is your responsibility to set the screening criteria and choose th emost suitable applicant. In this situation you are selecting the two person applicant not rejecting the 4 person applicant. Never make business decisions based on fear. Your property, your money, your risk.

Let them know the unit has been rented and is no longer available. Never give any applicant a reason for not selecting them. This will always avoid any accusations of unfair treatment. 

Thank you for the reply Matthew, much appreciated!

I'm sure most times you can find other reasons to decline a tenant, but provided both applicants meet all the qualifications, is it illegal to decline tenants for the reasons listed above?

Thank you very much, Thomas. great, advise!

Currently, I don't have a criteria for accepting tenants with fewer number of pets over ones with a higher number of pets, or accepting tenants with less occupants. 

if I set such criteria, do you happen to know if it would be illegal?

@Alfredo Diaz , some jurisdictions have a law stating that no more than X number of unrelated adults can live in a home in certain neighborhoods.  Sometimes that number is 4 unrelated adults, sometimes 3, sometimes 5 or more.  Check with the occupancy laws in your city to see if that applies to your property.

Originally posted by @Alfredo Diaz :

Thank you for the reply Matthew, much appreciated!

I'm sure most times you can find other reasons to decline a tenant, but provided both applicants meet all the qualifications, is it illegal to decline tenants for the reasons listed above?

As already pointed out you are not “declining” their application, you have decided to accept a different application. The only “reason” that matters is the unit is no longer available. 

"if I set such criteria, do you happen to know if it would be illegal?"

You are over thinking the entire screening process. No you do not set it as a written criteria. You choose the most qualified applicant based only on what you want in a tenant. Remember you can reject a applicant for something as simple as their attitude.

Take control of your business decisions and make those decisions only on what is best for the business. Choose the most qualifies based on what you want and inform all others the unit is no longer available. Done.