Fair Housing Facts And Tips
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing transaction. The Fair Housing Act specifically cover’s discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. (Provided by HUD)
Fair housing laws prohibit illegal housing discrimination.
Discrimination is illegal in any housing situation if it is based on, or adversely affects, a “protected class.” That is, if someone is denied a home, is treated differently, or is harassed because of one of the reasons listed below, it is illegal.
Consistency is Key!
Remember to be consistent within your daily job performance & interactions when dealing with residents, prospective residents and their guests. Never make assumptions regarding
a. Disabilities b. If an animal is a companion or pet c. Treat everyone the same!
Discrimination is sometimes deliberate or unintentional due to lack of Fair Housing knowledge toward residents, prospective residents & their guests that fall into any protected class category.
More often than not discrimination occurs during the leasing process while dealing with prospective residents. Be careful!
The information and purpose of leasing and Fair Housing is not to scare you out of the industry. It is an extremely important part of the job performance and expectation. Fair Housing classes will give you the understanding of pitfalls of falling into possible discrimination in Fair Housing. It also prepares and gives the tools necessary to help avoid complaints.
Here are a few examples that occur during leasing:
Example: Oh my, your children are beautiful! I have the perfect home for you on the ground floor by the playground! I am so excited to show you this apartment. Intention: More than likely the leasing associate has the best intentions for the prospective residents, it is still discrimination.
Perception: This is discrimination in the form of Steering, and could prompt a complaint.
Correct Action: Anyone applying for an apartment can live in any available unit and must be show the same apartments as anyone applying.
Prevention: Educate, Educate, Educate! It is necessary to make certain that the associates working for you are knowledgeable and trained to minimize the risk to you and your company.
Discrimination is Discrimination!
Unfortunately, even the best of intentions of the leasing consultant can put them, the owner and Management Company at risk. Make no mistake, Fair Housing and discrimination is real and happens.
Ignorance Of The Law Is No Excuse! Learn about the Federal, State and Local protected class on The Fair Housing website http://fhco.org
My best advice is Document, Document, and Document!
How does Documentation have the Potential for a Complaint?
Example: You may have a star on one guest card and not another or you may have written that she is so sweet and will make a great resident! Intention: You really liked that prospect and really thought she would make a great resident and noted as much on her guest card.
Perception: This could be construed as discrimination, based on the fact that these types of doodles and or comments were not present on all guest cards. These guest cards would be brought into question should a complaint be filed.
Remember: do not doodle or make marks on applications, guest cards or any paperwork related to prospect or resident.
Fair Housing Laws apply to:
Owner / Agents
Property Management Companies
Maintenance, Leasing & Administrative staff
Outside Vendors such as Landscapers, Painters,
Exterminators, Insurers, etc.
Real Estate Agents, Brokers, Lenders
Homeowners & Condo Associations
Individuals, Corporate & Business Owners
Architects, Builders, Developers, Engineers
Responsibility is non-delegable
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. A couple of thoughts: ask your associates and how they would address these scenarios in the leasing process? (In red are common answers and or thoughts your will receive from the well- intentioned leasing associates and are discriminatory, in my experience during training)
Women with two young children? Do not make assumptions! This women and children will be quiet; I can put them upstairs.
Married couple with two teen aged boys? Those boys are going to be trouble.
Married couple with one teen aged girl? Quiet residents
Discrimination is real and can be prevented!
Reprinted by Permission. Courtesy of the Rental Housing Journal ©2016 Professional Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. Email: info@ProPublic.com Visit www.rentalhousingjournal.com or call (503) 221-1260 You may also contact Dana Brown at EDGE Training – Full Spectrum Residential Services, LLC email@example.com or call 503-740-8432