Rent to you? Sure. Meet you? Heck, no

Douglas Hsiao in the Washington Post on the legal hazards of renting out an apartment under the laws of Washington, D.C., which make it suspect for a landlord to put ceilings on the number of tenants (that might constitute “family discrimination”) or inquire into whether an applicant is earning money at a legal trade (“source of income” discrimination):

And finally, this: I asked my property manager whether we could meet with potential tenants and interview them. She told me that, as a general rule, she does not like to meet any potential tenants. Why? Because if you never meet them, you cannot be accused of discriminating against them. It would be funny if it were not so Kafkaesque.


  • Given that things like employment discrimination have been alleged merely based upon the names of applicants, this no-meeting policy seems like a specious strategy to employ.

  • I would hire a new property manager…..

  • You could still be accused of discrimination. Just knowing their names can give a strong indicator of their ethnic group, or whether they are homosexual (with two women’s names or two man’s names).