Discrimination?

One of our members uses these questions to screen his Tenants on Craigslist, so I asked the MCAD, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to review it. They gladly did with these comments in bold:

“I just posted the apartment and have already been receiving a very high volume of inquiries, so prior to showing the apartment to anybody I first need to verify whether or not prospective tenants are qualified and a serious applicant. This saves both myself and yourself from wasting any time with showings. In order to do this initial pre-screening, I just have a few very basic standard questions that you must complete first in order to proceed.

Please type your answers in red if possible:

1. What is your name and telephone # that you can be reached at?

2. What is your reason for moving?

3. Do you have enough money available now to cover 1st/Last/Security?

4. Do all people that will be living at the apartment have good credit? We check credit. No

4. How many occupants are over 18? We’ll be running a credit check and need their signatures on the Lease.

5. Do you (or anyone that would be moving into the unit) smoke?

6. Do you (or anyone that would be moving into the unit) have pets?

7. Do all people that will be living at the apartment have a government issued photo ID? No

7. At the time of signing our lease we’ll need a photo ID of all occupants.

8. If approved, how many people will be living with you? OK

And what is the relationship to you? No (what’s the value of asking this?)

9. How long do you intend to live here? What is your intended rental term? (I currently require a 12 month lease beginning 9/1/2016 through 8/31/2017, with a 1 year extension option which both the landlord and tenant must both agree to)

10. How much is your current monthly rent?

11. What is your monthly and annual income?

12. Do you have a full time job? No (this is a slippery slope e.g. SSI, SSDI income can be used)

12. Final Application must document all household income needed to qualify. Rent is $X/month, Qualifying Household Income must be at least $2.5X/month (?).

13. How long have you worked there?

14. What type of work do you do?

15. How many places have you lived in the past 2 years?

16. Do you have a checking account? (just answer yes or no)

17. Do you have a savings account? (just answer yes or no)

18. Approximately how much cash do you have in savings? (Just a very rough estimate to determine whether you have sufficient money in reserves to cover the rent in case of unanticipated events such as job loss, large expenses, etc.) No.

18. Have you had renters insurance in the past?

19. Do you have any cars? If so, what kind (year/make/model)?

20. How many evictions have been filed on you or have you ever been evicted?

21. Have you ever broken a lease?

22. Do you have, or could you provide us with any landlord references?

23. Are you (or anybody who will be living with you) a convicted felon? No

24. Will anything come up when I run a criminal background check for the people that are moving in with you that I should know in advance (DUI’s, etc)? No

25. Are you or anybody that will be moving in with you a sex offender? No

(You can get this information when you run a Criminal Search with your Credit and Housing Court searches.)

26. Do you have any additional questions?

Thanks, Dan”

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