Communication with tenants can often be a challenge for landlords so this week that is a question for veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi who answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Can you turn down a tenant who speaks no English and I don’t speak Spanish. No easy access to an interpreter?


Dear Landlord John:

This question falls under legal advice, which I’m not able to give.

Under new guidance by the Federal Housing Association, denying housing to individuals who speak other languages is discrimination based on national origin.

Under the current Fair Housing Act, you are not allowed to deny any rental applicants due to their race, religion, sex, familial status, disability, color, or national origin.

You can deny a rental application as long as the landlord can prove that every applicant was screened by the same standards, and the basis for rejection was due to an applicant’s potential inability to pay rent or the applicant is seen as dangerous to your property/ neighborhood.

Being a landlord is no piece of cake, but maybe you should consider these folks, if you can overcome the communication barrier.

Have they submitted an application?


Hank Rossi

Other recent Dear Landlord Hank posts you may have missed:

If A Good Tenant Loses A Job How Long Before You Evict Them?

How Do You Raise Rent For A Long-Time Tenant?

 How Do You Know When To Change Property Managers?

 Where Do You Draw The Line On Normal Wear And Tear?

Dear Landlord Hank: Do You Conduct Rental Inspections? How Often?

Dear Landlord Hank: Can I turn down a tenant who speaks no English when I speak no Spanish?

Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties