If it seems like there’s always some news story out there about a lawsuit that just doesn’t make any sense. A frivolous lawsuit where it’s obvious the claimant is trying to reach into pockets deeper than their own.

As a real estate investor you know how important it is to keep enough liability insurance in force its okay to discriminate sometimesand you know that finding the right tenants with a proper mindset will make for a tranquil transaction. But when marketing the property and screening potential tenants, you can’t discriminate. Or can you?

Discrimination as it relates to housing means providing equal housing opportunities to specific protected classes. You can’t turn down a rental application based upon the person’s skin color, sex or sexual preference. You can’t discriminate due to the age of the applicant, religion, ethnicity or national origin. Nor can you turn someone down because they’re not married with children. Or they are married with children and you only like single tenants. Rejecting a rental application on any of these grounds can get you sued. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discriminate based upon other factors.

You don’t have to rent to someone with pets. In fact you may decide you can rent to someone with pets as long as the pet doesn’t weight more than say 20 pounds. That’s not discrimination, it’s common sense. You can advertise for non-smokers. Smokers will pollute your property and getting the smell out of carpeting and drapes is almost impossible. You can turn down an application if you think the potential tenant will trash out your property. If the tenant keeps a trashy apartment now you can bet your property will soon look the same if you accept the renter. Hey, some landlords refuse to rent to attorneys due to their propensity to look for something to file a lawsuit over. It’s okay sometimes to discriminate, just as long as it’s not against any protected class.