Judge finds property owners not responsible if renters are undocumented immigrants

Landlords are not legally culpable for harboring undocumented immigrants as a result of renting to them, according to a recent court decision.

Judge Julio Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled on a landmark case in New Jersey, in which one tenant sued a landlord for allegedly renting to undocumented individuals and accepting false documentation, according to the Star-Ledger.

The court's opinion asserts that landlords are not responsible for confirming the immigration credentials of their renters. An opposite ruling might have involved rental property management professionals and owners in immigration law, forcing them to assume responsibility for a new set of legal issues and complications.

In discussing the case, advocates note that a ruling in favor of the tenant could have placed landlords and rental managers in a difficult position. A mistake when investigating a prospective tenant's immigration status could easily lead to a housing discrimination case under those circumstances, meaning that this outcome is likely advantageous for rental housing industry stakeholders in several important ways.