Is it legal to not rent to someone with a child?
Are you aware that you could get in big trouble if you deny parents the right to rent your property? This is a very real statement, and it’s something that could cost you substantial fines and penalties if you disobey the laws that are in place to protect renters who have small children. Landlord discrimination against children is an offense that’s taken very seriously by courts in cities across the nation.
Property managers and landlords around the country—including Baltimore County—are forbidden from discriminating against tenants because they have children. Doing so would be a violation of the Fair Housing Act regarding “familial status.” With this in mind, if you have a new renter who has a child, it’s important to childproof your house to make it safe and accommodating for even your youngest tenants.
Here are a few helpful suggestions as you prepare your rental property for children:
1. Install Cabinet Locks
Install cabinet locks so children aren’t able to access toxic chemicals or hazardous materials.
As an adult, it can be pretty easy to forget which substances little hands shouldn’t get ahold of. If you’re unsure, put a lock on it. You can never have too many locks, but you can certainly have too few. Pay special attention to cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, as these are the two rooms where hazardous substances are most likely to be kept. If the apartment or house has a laundry room, you’ll want to make sure you give this space attention, too. Bleach and laundry detergents and even small detergent pods can be a temptation for children, and if consumed, can cause a lot of harm very quickly.
2. Eliminate Cords from Blinds
If the blinds in your rental property have long cords, replace them with window coverings that don’t have cords or strings hanging down. Window-covering cords present choking hazards for children of all ages—even babies in cribs. An accidental entanglement can cause kids or babies to asphyxiate.
3. Put a Fence Around Your Pool
If there is a pool at your property, pool safety needs to be high on your list of priorities. Install a fence around the pool to prevent children from wandering into the area and falling into the water accidentally when no one is around to assist them from drowning.
4. Tighten Loose Railings
Loose railings present potential hazards for renters of all ages. It’s important to check any railings on both the interior and exterior of the house to identify any that are loose and won’t provide stable support to those who need it.
Make sure every railing is checked and tightened before anyone moves into the property—especially someone with small children.
5. Cover Electrical Outlets
Little fingers have a way of finding holes you wouldn’t even think about, which certainly includes electric sockets. Many parents prefer to keep electrical outlets covered so kids can’t explore the holes with their fingers or sharp objects. As a landlord and property manager, this is a very inexpensive way to prevent accidents and childproof the house.
6. Install Baby Gates
If your rental home has stairs, install gates at the top of the stairs so a child doesn’t accidentally fall down. Of course, baby gates aren’t just for tenants with babies; they’re a solid investment to help any tenant who will have younger family members living in your property.
Don’t overlook areas where there might only be two or three steps; A tumble down even a few stairs can cause devastating results.
If a child ends up getting hurt on a rental property, the owner, landlord, and property manager can all be held liable. As the owner and landlord of your investment property, you’ll want to take a few steps to make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your home safe for tenants who are moving in with children. If you’re not sure what parts of your home may be unsafe for your smallest tenants, take a day to see the world from their points of view. When you’re down on the ground at a child’s height, you’ll likely identify safety concerns you wouldn’t even have spotted from your typical vantage point.
Property Management for Your Property
Our team at Bay Management Group is serious about ensuring our clients abide by all applicable rental laws for the safety of all tenants. We’re well-versed in federal, state, and local statutes that govern our clients’ rental properties, enabling us to provide guidance and direction whenever it’s needed. If you’re searching for a property management company in Baltimore that knows how to protect you, you’ve come to the right place! Get your free Property Management Analysis from our team today!