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4 Things You Shouldn't Say in a Rental Description (Some Could Even Get You In Trouble)


Sep 15, 2020 by Aly J. Yale

Your property descriptions play a huge role in your ability to attract tenants. A good one will mean fewer vacancies and better-qualified renters. A bad one? It will do just the opposite. In some cases, it might even get you into legal trouble.

Want to make sure your rental descriptions are setting you up for success? Avoid these four dangerous words and phrases.

1. 'Great for _______!'

Whether you fill that blank in with "young professionals," "families," or just "couples," you're breaking the law. Under fair housing laws, you can't market your property in a way that discriminates against someone's familial status, gender, religion, ability, race, or national origin.

A good rule of thumb when writing your description: Focus on the property -- not the prospective renter. And if you're not sure if something counts as discrimination, remove it.

2. 'Best'

You might think your property is "the best deal in the neighborhood" or "the best house on the street," but remember: "Best" is subjective. So are "amazing," "perfect," "outstanding," and other superlatives.

These terms also sound exaggerated, which could make it sound like you're hiding something (or you're just desperate to rent out the property). Either way, using them is not good for attracting tenants.

3. 'Timeless'

It's a pretty word, but to renters, "timeless" basically just means "old" and "rundown." The same goes for similar phrases like "vintage," "ageless," and "charming." They all tell a renter a property has seen better days -- and that it's probably not in the best condition.

Unless your property is in a historical part of town or its history is the clear selling point for tenants, you're best off avoiding time-related phrases altogether.

4. 'Unique'

"Unique" is right up there with "timeless." It looks harmless enough, but when read through the eyes of a renter, it's a big red flag.

To tenants, "unique" means something's weird or wrong with the property, and it raises more questions than answers. Is it painted a horrible color? Is the layout bad? Why is it so different from other rentals in the area? If your property really is unique, spell out why. What makes the property unique? Let tenants know exactly what they get with the unit.

The bottom line

If you want your rental description to do its job -- not get you in trouble -- choose your words carefully. Focus on describing the property accurately and honestly, and don't try to write it with any type of tenant in mind. That could put you in violation of fair housing laws.

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