Landlords may use different screening criteria, but they cannot apply these criteria in a discriminatory manner. For example, it is illegal for a landlord to ask you about your race, religion, age (other than making sure you are over 18 years old), sexual preference, or whether you are pregnant. For more information about who is protected by discrimination laws, see Chapter 7: Discrimination.
Landlords also should not automatically exclude any person with a criminal conviction record, but should consider the nature and severity of an individual's conviction when screening.33 For example, landlords should not request criminal background checks for some applicants and not others. Landlords should consider the amount of time that has passed since the conviction and also the nature and severity of the conviction.