Jul 12

A reader on the ApartmentAssoc at YahooGroups list asks in regards to denying applications:

 What if there isn’t an alternative applicant and it’s not credit related? (ie criminal record or just don’t like them…Lool). I never really cared and don’t give a reason other than “your application has been denied”. Today was the first time an applicant repeatedly called wanting a reason.

In WI, excluding Dane County/Madison as they are a separate state, ;-), you are not required to give a reason.  In most cases a simple “Sorry your app was not accepted” is the best answer.

However, with that being said, you should consider having a mechanism in place where the applicant can request the reason if they are insistent. We ask that they request the reason in writing and we respond in writing.  This gets away from any allegations that someone said something they did not.

Think back to your own experiences – when someone is elusive or outright refuses to answer a question your first thought is they have something to hide. The more the other party pushed back the more you knew you were on to some kind of wrong doing.

 Rejection for criminal record is easy if you have a written criteria.  If they fail the criteria you can point it out.  So if one of your criteria is ‘We will reject applicants who have had drug related felonies in the past x years’ and they were convicted of having a ton of cocaine  in their possession  x years – 1 then the answer is a ‘sorry – your 12/14/20xx conviction prevents us from renting to you at this time.  You can apply again in a year.’

“Just don’t like them” is dangerous grounds, especially if they are a member of a protected class under federal state or local fair housing rules.

You don’t have to like your tenants, you just need to be sure they will pay rent, not damage the place, not conduct illegal activities out of your property and not anger the neighbors.  If they meet all those requirements I can “like” just about any prospective tenant.

One Response to “Application Denial”

  1. Bob Taylor says:

    If I am to base how to answer that particular question on what I’ve learned over my years operating different service businesses, where turnover can be often, thus any GM or asst GM will likely be doing a lot of hiring/firing and all the related work that comes along with that. I’ve received a few different answers to the question of what to say when a recently fired employee calls to find out why (and likely try to schmooze or beg for their job back) but the two or three times that I was given an answer coming from an employment attorney, it was always to simply say, “I’m sorry but I am not permitted to discuss that with you, sorry” and NOTHING more! IF and only if they keep persisting (not just once either, if they keep on calling or stopping in etc over and over) then refer them to the attorney or if its a larger corporate type operation, there is probably some HR person somewhere that is supposed to take over then.

    You see, even if I’m the General Manager who’s in total charge of the entire store and I personally catch an employee pocketing $100 from the cash register and we both know damn well that’s why he/she was fired, even then I’ve been advised to not say another word. That’s because as we all know, in the USA, no matter how “busted” you are, you’re still innocent until proven guilty and if that is the sole reason for firing someone, it culd actually lead to a lawsuit at any point and what if that employee is criminally charged and due to whatever reason, is found not guilty in court? Then, common sense says they really should get their job back immediately, even though both the boss and the thieving employee bith know full well that’s what happened!

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