Rental Basics in Chicago>Question Details

Giamarie, Both Buyer and Seller in Chicago, IL

Do I need to disclose my intended credit score requirement to a potential renter? What do I have to disclose as my possible criteria for refusal?

Asked by Giamarie, Chicago, IL Wed Sep 16, 2009

I have a potential tenant threatening me with law suits prior to a rental app, background check, credit check ...and this is before a security deposit and signed lease. hes holding me to some conversation in an email thread to give him the unit vs. another candidate. I am moving on thin ice here so I want to make sure if I have to actually disclose the number I want shoot for, for a credit check 700, or 720 if you think that is possible. Its a newly remodely unit in downtown so I really need to protect that investment. Of course I sitll have to check if he does have a job, which I am unsure about, will be part of the background check - but do I have to implicitly state, legally, that I require a credit score of this number or any other such disqualifying factor? Job? positive previous landlord referral? etc? or do i simply have to give him in writing, my reasoning, after the fact? again trying to figure which is the legal approach here....

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Good information given already but here is the bottom line...

You cannot discriminate against him for anything that is a protected class- race, religion, etc. If you are not violating those laws and you simply want to rent to someone else over him because- for example he is an obnoxious person who is threatening you with lawsuits or because he simply doesn't have a credit score that is acceptable to you as the unit owner- you do not have to rent to him and there's nothing he can do.

He could attempt to sue you for what is called specific performance which would be basically asking the courts to force you to rent him the place but you have no contract and I've never heard of that happening in a rental situation.

As always, consult with your attorney but it sounds like you've done nothing wrong and have nothing to worry about.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 16, 2009
As an individual unit owner... you can disqualify a tenant for any reason (like they are a freak!)... just say application denied! No reason needs to be given.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 16, 2009
Yikes... forget about the guy. You are allowed to pick your renter, period, and I would run far and fast from someone who is already this much trouble before you rent. What happens when the heat is too cold, or the pressure in the tub is not enough. Better to find someone who is lower maintenance.

Separately, I suggest you use consistent practices with tenants. Credit report, written application, references, are all normal. The key is showing that you treat all candidates. But you are perfectly entitled to ask away.

Best of luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 16, 2009
This guy is nuts and why would you want to rent to him even if his credit report was 850????? If I read you correct, you have not even seen an application....nothing in writing from him! You do not need to tell him anything. Do not correspond with him ever again and move on with other potential tenants. He has nothing! He's nuts. Keep records of his corespondence including voicemails.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 16, 2009
We do a lot of rentals. A perspective tenant stated how nice they liked the unit. In the rear we have the area secured where no one can park there. He asked us would we open it up so he could work on cars. Of course, we told him we do not allow tenant to run a business on our properties. No beauty shops, no daycare's, no car repairs in the rear. There are many decisions that go into why one landlord picks a tenant over another. One thing is that the landlord does not want to be charged with any liability of the tenants business and the landlords insurance policy may prohibit certain activities.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 20, 2009
Of course you cannot discriminate against any protected class. After that it could be just things about how well you and that potential renter communicated, or one new tenants demands may be less than another. (ie. owner to supply new appliances or the tenant will supply appliances)There can be numerous reasons why a landlord picks one tenant over another. This process is a interview just like a job. it is not 100% credit score driven.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 20, 2009
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