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Discriminating against renters simply based on their youth
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He’s a young man. He works an honest day doing construction work. And he’s about as clean-cut as you can get - no sagging pants, fairly well-groomed, polite, and hardworking.

Yet there are some who refuse to rent to him in Manteca.

It has nothing to do with his references or his ability to pay.

Supposedly it has everything to do with his friends. He was told point-blank by a property manager that he may indeed be presentable, polite and be responsible but that was no guarantee his friends are.

Judging people by their appearance or age is nothing new. But actually expressing those thoughts verbally in 2011 when it comes to renting living space is so out of sync with reality that it is a tad scary.

One can only imagine how he would have been judged if he was a different ethnic background than the property manager. It doesn’t matter, though, since the responsible party penalized the young man with three strikes instead of equating his age to a ball and going to the next step of references, credit and so forth.

The courts have made it clear that landlords are fairly limited in terms of how they can exclude people from renting. Basically it centers on credit worthiness and references delineating one’s character and conduct as a renter elsewhere. One of the rare exceptions is allowing complexes to be designed exclusively for those above a certain age that qualifies them as seniors.

It seems not much has changed in the past 20 years with some in the property management business in Manteca. As a 34-year-old single male with a credit scores above 700 and spotless references I was told point blank by one apartment complex manager that they didn’t like renting to single men. The assumption, of course, is that single men must have the morals of an alley cat.

I had a better personal experience at the place I ended up renting for four years. The manager told me she had four one-bedroom apartments available. As I was sitting in the office filling out paperwork, a clean-cut young man drove up in a well-kept older car. He wore casual pants and a clean white T-shirt. Arguably not much different than my OP shorts and pullover I was wearing. As he stepped through the door he said he had inquired about an apartment just an hour earlier. The manager, not missing a beat, apologized and said she had just rented the last apartment to me.

I should have gotten up and walked out but I didn’t. They had three apartments left but she obviously didn’t want to rent to someone who was a Hispanic and driving a 1957 Chevy.

I have no qualms with people who are thorough and follow the law. After my divorce, I selected two apartment complexes. One was willing to sign a lease with me on the spot after checking my credit. The other that I preferred needed references from those who had rented to me during the previous 10 years. There was one slight problem. I had been a homeowner for the prior 12 years.

After a week, the manager suggested I get a reference from who at first rented to me when I came to Manteca even though it was more than 10 years before. That didn’t fly as that complex destroyed records after 10 years.

Finally I mentioned a farmer who we had rented from for about a year after we were married. I was doubtful, though, that he was going to remember me. Fortunately he did.

It was after that reference being checked that I was accepted as a renter.

The standard was clear. Donald Trump couldn’t rent an apartment from them despite his creditworthiness unless he could produce references from people he had rented from in terms of how he conducted himself as a tenant.

And that is what it should - and must - come down to when people are in the rental business. Potential tenants need to be judged solely on their credit worthiness and track record as a renter and not on the tone of their skin or their age. Or - in the case of one property manager - what their friends might be like.