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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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If someone has a house for rent listing that says the only

Customer Question

Hi there. If someone has a house for rent listing that says the only issue if someone's credit score is below 630 that an extra month's rent needs to be paid up front, can they still legally turn around and deny the person the rental if the credit score is the only issue or is that a form of false advertising?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: Yes.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not right now.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site.

This is a very sensitive area and the answer is not conclusive.

Technically, a landlord cannot discriminate against a potential renter by race, religion, creed, color, family status, etc. There is a whole bunch of federal and state law categories that fall under such a protection.

However, credit score is NOT a category that is protected, meaning a landlord can discriminate against people with a low score, much like they can against people with a criminal conviction.

Some people and lawmakers have been calling to make this illegal because people of color often have lower credit scores, so this is de facto discrimination by race. However so far, no law has been passed for this, and, no court opinion has set a precedent that this is discrimination.

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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I kind of understand, but isn't it false advertising if they say on the listing that the low credit score only means an extra month's rent up front and not a denial?
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

Ah, let me touch base on the false advertising, too. If they do not mention this in the ad, then it IS a form of false advertising if they claim no deposit is needed, for example in the ad, but then state (in person) that for those under 630, exceptions apply.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click FINISH to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This is what the ad said: OPEN AND SPACIOUS 3 BEDROOM, 2 BATH SINGLE FAMILY HOME MOVE IN WITH FIRST MONTH RENT PLUS ONE MONTH SECURITY DEPOSIT WITH CREDIT OVER 630 (LAST MONTH RENT REQUIRED TO BE PAID UPFRONT WITH LOW CREDIT).So, is it false advertising if they then don't accept the extra month payment and deny me the rental?
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

Oh wait. They STATE that people with 630 have a different offer. So this is NOT false advertising, since they are upfront about it. I am sorry.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click FINISH to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
They state that someone with a score under 630 has to pay an extra month up front. I can do that. The issue I am having is that they are denying me the option to do that even though it says ion the ad that they accept an extra month up front if credit score is below 630. So again, is it false advertising if they DO NOT accept the extra month up front as the ad clearly states?
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

What is the reason for their denial of your application?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The credit. Everything else was good.
Expert:  Ely replied 4 months ago.

I see. Unfortunately, I do not think this falls under false advertising, either. The landlord still has to approve the tenant - this is a right they have. If the ad said something like "no one would be disapproved because of their credit," then it would be false advertising if they did.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click FINISH to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating.