Valid reasons to reject a rental application

Rent it Right

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Jun. 23, 2011

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Have a talk with management and ask why they want this information. If you hear, "So we can have it on hand," beware. Federal law (the "Disposal Rule," 69 Fed Reg. 68690) specifically forbids the keeping of sensitive information when it's no longer necessary.

If management persists in asking for the information and you refuse, triggering an eviction, you will have to defend on the grounds that your eviction was punishment for your refusal to comply with an illegal demand.

Although violations of the Disposal Rule carry civil penalties, it's not certain that you can raise them as a defense to an eviction. It's hard to imagine a landlord foolish enough to oust a stable, long-term tenant over information that the landlord really doesn't need. But if you encounter such foolishness, be sure to get some legal help if matters take a turn in this direction.

Janet Portman is an attorney and managing editor at Nolo. She specializes in landlord/tenant law and is co-author of "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" and "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." She can be reached at

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1. DJ McCabe said... on Jun 24, 2011 at 12:24PM

“No matter who they say they are (the prospective renter) get a good credit and background check done. A "real pain" can mean a whole lot of things. For a rather decent price you can get a solid tenant screen done by an outside agency to ensure you guy reaction is really the right one. I use and would recommend ATS (”


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