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avoiding group renters or room mate situations

How can I legally avoid renting to room mates as apposed to a family or just one financially responsible person?  If room mates are my only applicants how can  I financially qualify them as a group yet make them all responsible for the full amount if one room mate moves out or fails to pay their part of the rent?  How can I screen against them in the first place without being liable for discrimination?

Hey:   The fair housing act is what you would want to read. You can not decline a renter based on:   Race or color, National origin, Religion, Disability or handicap, including physical and mental impairment, Sex, including sexual harassment, and Familial status.  I do believe that only wanting to rent a single person or a family is going against the fair housing act. I would just run credit and criminal history on multiple applicants and choose based on income and history. I wish you the best of luck!
So, if you rent to 3 room mates and one does not pay their share or is always late are the other two held responsible for the full amount?  How do you evict just one?  Can you charge more rent or a greate¿r deposit if there is more than one person responsible and only jointly qualify financially?   What if they only qualify jointly but not indevidually?  In other words can I advertise that each adult on the lease needs to qualify indevidually?  I had a situation once where one of the roommates paid the electric bill,  but the oth er s paid their share to that one roommate.  Months later I was held responsible for a huge amont as owner of the property because the one responsible took the roommates money but never paid the electric company.   The remaining roommates refused to pay the outstanding amt  due because they felt they already paid their share to the roommate who took off on them with all their money  and could not be found anymore.
I believe the joint and several liability section in the lease covers the roommate situation.  If you also add the roommate addendum, it also reinforces the financial responsibility of all roommates.  I just had a situation where a roommate was concerned about providing surety (joint and several liability) for the other roommates.  Walking through the lease and having the roommate applicants become aware that they are each responsible for the full rent, not just their portion.  When the roommate backed out, the remaining roommates were not able to pursue the rental without the 3rd.  They either needed to pay more rent, which they could not afford, or find another roommate to share costs, which they couldn't do before the deadline to sign the lease.  I haven't had the situation with the utility company you have mentioned, but hopefully the security deposit covered some of the challenge.  That may be a reason to extend the return of the deposit deposit to 60 days if your state allows that.   Also, getting a fully completed application, including social security number, assists with tracking down a tenant who has left unpaid obligations.
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