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Declining an rental application

An unmarried couple gave me applications to rent. Due to criminal record (domestic/family injury /assult resulting in 1 yr jail-time) - I am declining. This is the man who has the record (pretty recent) - but he is out of town - and the girlfriend is HOUNDING me about why they were denied. I don't know if I should tell her because I don't know if she even knows about this, and I don't want to open a can of worms... What should I do? All I said was it was not due to her application, but his... she wants specifics and seems confused.

I never discuss applications verbally. I send an applicant denial letter ( there is one on this web-site). I keep it vague. Never give specifics. If they ask for specifics - I then tell them to contact the agency that furnished the info.
Thank you. I did reply via email and gave a generic reason - I think I said something along the lines of "too many discrepancies" and "undesirable information" for myself to be comfortable with approving the application. I suppose for now I will just leave it at that. I didn't really think about using an official form of any type... I just gave several sentences, an apology of sorts and told her that as a courtesy I wouldn't deposit the credit app check she gave me since her app was was fine. In the future I will get separate checks from each applicant - I never had this problem before and I want to be fair.
Failure to document a basis for rejecting a rental applicant may get you in trouble too.  Per the Federal Trade Commission if you use ANY credit, consumer or tenant screening tools or services and the information in the report you receive leads you to deny the applicant, you must provide an "adverse action notice". Likewise, if you change the terms for a tenant that seems to be riskier by asking for a different deposit amount, you must notify the applicant that the terms on which you are accepting them are not identical.  In the case of denying an applicant on criminal grounds, you may not have a legal reason in all states to report this as the reason but you MAY have an ethical one: Consider the risk to the girlfriend if she/he does not know that her boyfriend served time for assault (particularly if it was a domestic violence crime). For one, chances are very good that she already knows. But if she doesn't, and this was your daughter or granddaughter, wouldn't you want someone to level with her? It's ironic that you, as a landlord or property manager, are making use of tools that essentially snitch on your applicants, and yet you can't see why your applicants' personal business is any of their business after you use information in their background check with which to deny them? Putting your applicant at an unfair advantage with respect to their own personal information, especially in this age of identity theft when all information is potentially suspect or inaccurate, is wrong — even if not legally so.  Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act if the contents of a consumer report, be it a "credit" or "specialty" report results in the rejection of a rental applicant, you do, in fact, have an obligation to notify your applicant. This flies in the face of the more common practice: nonspecific replies if not non-existent follow up. Being vague could get you sued:  "Landlords who fail to provide required disclosure notices face legal consequences. The FCRA allows individuals to sue landlords for damages in federal court. A person who successfully sues is entitled to recover court costs and reasonable legal fees. The law also allows individuals to seek punitive damages for deliberate violations of the FCRA. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), other federal agencies and the states may sue landlords for non-compliance and get civil penalties."  Source:
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