Is it legal for a property manager to make a possible tenant wait to submit their application?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for a property manager to make a possible tenant wait to submit their application?

A friend of ours knew we were actively looking for a better place to live because we are expecting our first child in the next 2 months. He directed us

to his brother who had just hired a real estate agent to find a tenant. We

contacted the owner directly before it had even been listed online, and he let

his property manager know that we wanted the unit. We called the agent the next morning, leaving a message. He finally called back at the end of the day,

saying someone would call to schedule a showing. A day passed without any

activity. Called again the next day, leaving a message that we were the ones

who wanted to rent the apartment, and he called back late in the evening saying that someone would call to schedule a showing by the next morning. I asked him if there was any paperwork that he could send me so we would be in line, and he said there was no need, and that we need to just wait to schedule a showing. We received no call about scheduling one by the next afternoon, so I contacted his fill-in while he was taking the day off, and she sent me the application almost immediately. We finally received a call about a showing that evening but by then, 3 people were able to apply before us, and the manager is telling the owner that it would be illegal to select us, because he’s not allowed to discriminate based on their credit score, history or the fact that we contacted him first but were last to apply. We would have applied the night we contacted the owner, but the manager was the only one who knew where we were supposed to do that and he would not tell us, or allow the owner to take it into consideration when choosing a future tenant. We have a

lease ending next month and need to give our current landlord notice that we are moving out.

Asked on June 27, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no inherent right to apply for a rental or have someone consider your application so long as there was no illegal discrimination going on (see below); in the absence of discrimination, the property manager could elect to not consider your application on a timely basis.
The law prevent housing discrimination due to race, color, national origin, disability, or sex. If you beleive that he held off on your application due to one of these factors, then you may have been the victim of illegal housing discrimination and should contact HUD, which investigates housing discrmination complaints.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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