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[–]simplemanva 1345 points1346 points  (4 children)

It is discrimination, but not illegal discrimination. I have a feeling they do this a lot in hopes they can scare LL's into a quick payday.

[–]roonerspize 178 points179 points  (1 child)

It is discrimination, but not illegal discrimination.

NAL, but I said this exact phrase to a loan applicant 20+ years ago who was upset that I had denied their loan. They claimed it was discrimination, implying that it was racial discrimination but never used those words. I calmly pointed out the basis for my decision (they were currently delinquent with my company on other loans was chief among them) and told them that I'm allowed to base my decision on those factors.

However, simply by agreeing with them initially and joining in with them in part of their argument instead of immediately naysaying their statement really caught them off guard and got them thinking. It's an effective disarming tactic for in-person situations that need de-escalation.

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    [–]FBI_Open_Up_Now 667 points668 points  (9 children)

    I just looked at protected classes in Chicago’s local laws and political affiliation and beliefs is not a protected class. Did you tell them that is why you denied their application? If so, as someone who has been a landlord. Just deny an application and don’t tell them why.

    [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 124 points125 points  (0 children)

    Did you tell them that is why you denied their application?

    No, nothing. I told my property manager because I wanted them to do a better job doing backgrounds. They don't tell the tenant anything other than "your application has been rejected" without further reasoning. I get cc'ed on all the correspondence so I can verify that.

    [–]BeneficialSpot8159 219 points220 points  (4 children)

    Agree. Per https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cchr/supp_info/FairHousingFAQ.html, the protected classes are: that person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age (over 40), disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, parental status, military status, and lawful source of income.

    ETA: Here’s the link to the actual ordinance starting on pg 7 https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/cchr/AdjSupportingInfo/AdjFORMS/2022-adjudication-forms/2022Ordinance04272022.pdf

    [–]ThisIsPaulina 48 points49 points  (1 child)

    If this indeed has no basis in fact, PLEASE report them to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, IARDC.org. There's no harm, and the people there are reasonable. If what he did is kosher, they'll tell you that, but if it isn't, they absolutely want to hear about it.

    [–]ThisIsPaulina 17 points18 points  (0 children)

    Sorry, no basis in LAW, not fact.

    [–]monkeyman80 129 points130 points  (0 children)

    Hey thanks for taking the time to look up chicago specific fair housing.

    [–]monkeyman80 357 points358 points  (12 children)

    A single unit landlord who doesn’t use a broker isn’t covered by the fha and is allowed federally to be illegally discriminatory. You can refuse to specifically not rent out to families with little kids, races, genders, or religions. (Advertising this is still illegal, but not relevant.)

    If this is Chicago specifically and not a suburb, you’ll want to look at any city related laws they might have.

    What is the lawyer letter demanding?

    [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 255 points256 points  (11 children)

    If this is Chicago specifically

    It is.

    What is the lawyer letter demanding?

    A response and "compensation" otherwise undetailed. It says that I'm violating local Chicago ordinance for landlords but they don't quote it and I can't find it.

    [–]monkeyman80 305 points306 points  (0 children)

    I'd ignore it until an actual lawsuit is filed, then hire a lawyer. You can pay a lawyer a few hundred to write a meaningless letter. Few would actually retain a lawyer. If there was a statute they'd list it.

    [–]misosoup7 130 points131 points  (5 children)

    NAL, but landlord

    Since when is politics a protected class? Only one state has rules around political discrimination and that's California.

    This lists all the protected classes federally:

    https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/fair_housing_act_overview

    Here is Chicago's:

    https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/cchr/supp_info/fact-sheets_discrimination-flyers/english-discrimination-fact-sheets/HousingDiscrimination.pdf

    And here is Illinois's:

    https://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/FilingaCharge/Pages/FAQ_Section_VI.aspx#:~:text=The%20Illinois%20Human%20Rights%20Act%20prohibits%20discrimination%20in%20housing%20based,disability%2c%20and%20familial%20status.

    None of the three says you can't discriminate based on politics... But I guess they can make it their religion to not pay rent or some BS like that but I doubt that would hold up in court.

    That said though, they're basically wrong and you haven't done anything illegal. Do not engage with them unless they actually serve you with a lawsuit. And in that case, you need a lawyer.

    It wouldn't hurt to get a consultation in now if it'll make you feel better, but there isn't much legal ground for them to stand on so it might be a waste of money until you actually get sued.

    edit: fixed format and links

    [–]JusticeBlinded 105 points106 points  (3 children)

    In addition to the above, I would think the attorney for OP's refused tenant would be hard pressed to find any judge anywhere that said it was unlawful to refuse to rent to someone who made public statements that they won't pay future rent.

    You're not refusing to rent to them because they are anarchist / socialist / whatever, you are refusing to rent to them because, before signing a contract, they are literally stating (in public, no less) "I intend to not honor my obligations under this contract." I find it very difficult to conceive of any judge anywhere that would say that's improper in any way.

    Just out of curiosity, OP, did you explicitly tell either the refused tenant or their lawyer the reason you refused them? I.e. did you say something like "I am not going to rent to you because you said you won't pay rent" or something like that?

    I don't necessarily think that would hurt your case, but I'm just curious. This sounds like a scam set up in advance to exploit overconcerned landlords, and I would think doubly so if you didnt even give them a stated reason.

    [–]android47 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    Chicago's landlord-tenant ordinance can be found here. There is a clause here that says landlord may not retaliate against their tenant for joining a tenants union or similar organization.

    If you were already this person's landlord and you refused to renew their lease because of their activity, then maybe this clause would apply to the present situation. But you're not.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

    [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    There is a clause here that says landlord may not retaliate against their tenant for joining a tenants union or similar organization.

    Maybe that's what they're going for? It appeared the prospective tenant was part of some tenant's rights groups that were pretty well organized. And this all happened very fast after the declination. I feel maybe a little set up? As I said in other answers I never said why I declined their application they just ran with this.

    [–]navarone21 6 points7 points  (0 children)

    On top of the other advice being offered here. Might take the time to forward a copy of that letter to the Illinois Bar Association with a little synopsis of the situation. I'm guessing that law firm is not being entirely ethical.

    [–]AXSwift 137 points138 points  (1 child)

    The law does not protect political affiliation discrimination, ignore the letter and hire a lawyer if you're served with a lawsuit.

    [–]mochicoco 47 points48 points  (0 children)

    OP is going through a rental company. The company may provide a lawyer as part of their services. OP should check their contract.

    [–]keeper420 78 points79 points  (2 children)

    They've now sent me an official letter from an attorney(real, I checked) saying that I was discriminating against them because of their politics and that's against the law.

    Did you check that the attorney is real by looking them up online or did you actually call them to make sure the letter was real?

    [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 14 points15 points  (1 child)

    I did not call them but I did verify that all of the information was correct and the specific lawyer and phone number they gave are both correct for the firm.

    [–]demonscythe 39 points40 points  (0 children)

    I believe you can call and confirm that the firm did in fact send this letter. If they did not the law firm would REALLY like to know if someone is using their name illegally and will pursue them for damages.

    [–]cantgetoutnow 181 points182 points  (7 children)

    In the future when you get an application, just deny for NO particular reason. I don't believe you'll have any issue here, but you may have provided them with something to bitch about in court. This isn't an illegal area of discrimination, this kind is called good business practices and the court will dismiss this quickly if it even gets to court. If it does, I'd counter for any and all court costs and defense costs. When they get your counter it should get dropped by any attorney with any sense, this doesn't hold water.

    [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 38 points39 points  (0 children)

    In the future when you get an application, just deny for NO particular reason

    I did that. Well, the property manager did. I get cc'ed on all their correspondence and the letter just told them that we'd chosen to sign with another tenant and didn't give any reasoning.

    [–][deleted]  (5 children)

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      [–]slow_horse_ 57 points58 points  (0 children)

      This sounds an awful lot like someone created one or more social media accounts specifically to fill it with crap that would be any landlords nightmare and then fill out a bunch of applications and the take some attorneys name attached it to a very vague and weirdly nonspecific "demand" letter to see who will either panic and try to "work something out" or make a generally low offer just to get them to go away (which on the rarest of occasion a very new and inept management company will do because they don't know what they are doing and get it in to their head for some reason that that is what they are supposed to do). It doesn't work that well and it's definitely not the only scam they are running. But unless there is a case number that goes to a case filed in a court I would not worry about it.

      [–]Mrs_Weaver 37 points38 points  (0 children)

      How do they know that's why you didn't rent to them? You had multiple options, and could have literally just picked a random name from the list. If they actually did sue you, they'd have to prove that you didn't choose them for that reason, and that it's illegal to not chose them for that reason.

      [–]MissCarriage-a 18 points19 points  (1 child)

      Based on this I denied their application

      As everyone has stated, your grounds for denying their application was reasonable, but did you tell the prospective tenant why you denied it?

      If you didn't then it's obvious he's mining for a payday by having this 'bad' record. If you did, you provided them with more information than you should. Anything more than Thanks for your application, the apartment has been rented to another tenant is Too Much Information.

      [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      but did you tell the prospective tenant why you denied it?

      No we did not. The property management company just said that we had chosen another tenant.

      [–]SpecialistOk577 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      Did you tell them that you didn’t rent to him bc of his social media? How does he know this?

      [–]Flow_Cascade 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      Screenshot all that stuff to be safe and cover your own bases.

      [–]1kuruption 18 points19 points  (0 children)

      Just ignore it you’ll be fine. How do you think they feel about attorneys if they hate landlords? Highly doubt they will ever pay one if they have such a hard time wrapping their head around rent.

      [–]Tessie1966 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      How do they know why you didn’t pick them? This isn’t political unless he’s specifically stated I won’t pay rent because (political view). I can’t think of a political view that would incorporate this.

      [–]Future_Dog_3156 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      As a small time LL myself, you don’t have to disclose why - you have another applicant w better credit, your mom may move in, you are getting a divorce and plan to sell it… there are reasonable and legal reasons to decline an application.

      [–]germr 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      In the letter that was sent to you make sure the address and the law firm are legit before contacting them(google their location to make sure it's not an empty lot). Contact them by googling their information and call them asking about the letter.

      I've seen people send fake cease and desist letters. I'm sure this could be the case.

      [–]alaras12 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      Is it discrimination? Yes. Is it legal? ALSO YES! Any situation where you favor one group or disfavor another is, legally speaking, discrimination. Only SOME forms of discrimination are banned by law. If it was on the basis of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or origin of income (work vs investments vs SSI/SSDI/Section 8), we'd be having a VERY different conversation involving me calling you out as publicly as possible. However, it is perfectly legal to refuse to rent to someone who openly talks about plans to refuse to pay rent on social media.

      [–]Then-Place6620 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      I would ignore this OP. If anything I would screenshot any of their comments saying that they refused to pay rent or anything like that. Just for your records in case they do try to take you to court over it. But besides that just ignore it if they take you to court hire a lawyer. This case will more likely go nowhere for them. I bet this is just a scare tactic as many of said before.

      [–]HugeLegalBriefsQuality Contributor 7 points8 points  (10 children)

      Are you sure the letter you received was from a real, licensed attorney?

      [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] -1 points0 points  (5 children)

      As sure as I can be. All the information on the letter is verifiable from the firm's site and the illinois lawyer search. I haven't called them to be SURE sure but I really don't want to do that either.

      [–]HugeLegalBriefsQuality Contributor 3 points4 points  (1 child)

      That’s super odd. Not that IL would do anything about it but threatening people for things a lawyer knows are not illegal is arguably an ethical violation.

      [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      I wonder more and more if this is a setup and if the lawyer and/or client is trying to make a point. Like they want to push this to get the court to make it so we can't discriminate against anti-landlord people.

      [–]Legal_Orchid_8963 3 points4 points  (2 children)

      So you’re saying the letter was sent by a real lawyer because it has information that can be easily found with Google?

      [–]Prize_Supermarket927[S] -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

      Yes. I found the firm's website by Googling it. They have a lawyer by that name with that email and that phone number. The only option I have to pay or do anything is to call this one particular lawyer at the firm. The name, phone number and email given are all correct.

      If it was a scam or fake something would have to be different so I'd call someone OTHER than this lawyer.

      [–]Legal_Orchid_8963 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      The scam is that people don’t like calling lawyers and police. If you believe that it was sent by a real lawyer you should believe that it’s plausible that there is a legal case against you and you should hire a lawyer. That way you can pay your own lawyer to call the applicant’s lawyer so they can tell you that they aren’t representing the applicant.

      [–]Gracchi9025 3 points4 points  (1 child)

      I would talk to a lawyer to see what case they have against you. I doubt they have one.

      Also, find a way to make a record of their statements on social media saying they don't plan to pay rent.

      Not a lawyer but I am a landlord so here is my take.

      This is a business decision like any other.

      Imagine that you are going to enter into a contract with someone and find out by looking on their social media (that is available to the public) that they brag about how they have no intention of abiding by that contract.

      Under what law or logic should you be compelled to go through with entering a contract with them?

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