April is often referred to as Fair Housing month to help increase awareness and understanding of those who work in the real estate / property management industry as well as the public. It is critical to know how the laws, rules, regulations, new developments, and pending legislation affect your business not just in April but every day of the year. Fair Housing complaints can lead to lawsuits, financial loss, and even closure of your business.
Do you have a good understanding of the current Fair Housing laws and issues?
Fair Housing is a simple concept, “don’t discriminate” but following it is not always an easy task. What makes this so difficult is that Fair Housing affects so much in daily operation, particularly in the property management company. Examples of areas that it affects are advertising, applications, showings, tenant screening, move in processes, notices, evictions, treatment of the disabled, move out processes, owner agreements, owner representation, hiring, firing, and much more.
It pays to take time to stop and review Fair Housing and how it impacts your business on a daily basis. In addition, you need to realize that those around you must be educated as well, such as personnel, property owners, and vendors/services. Those who enforce the Fair Housing laws, rules, and regulations have zero tolerance for ignorance of companies who are ignorant of Fair Housing or business owners who do not take responsibility for what happens within their company business.
The Federal Fair Housing Act and its many subsequent acts, in both the Federal and state courts, have been the result of many lawsuits involving the interpretation these laws. Judgments have resulted in penalties in the millions against those that do not comply with Fair Housing. Discrimination is a serious problem.
Take the Fair Housing Quiz below and see how you well you do. At the end of this article, you can click on the “Fair Housing Review” link to print out BOTH the questionnaire and answer sheets; you can add or delete questions by customizing the Microsoft Word document.
Use this same information as a training tool for your team in an office meeting or retreat. You may also realize that some company documentation requires updating to avoid conflict with Fair Housing laws, rules, and regulations.
Fair Housing Quiz
1. The purpose of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act is to ensure that everyone has equal access to housing regardless of their race, national origin, religion, sex, color, disability, familial status.
|2. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act.||True||False|
|3. Most states do not have additional Fair Housing laws.||True||False|
|4. State Fair Housing Laws cannot add to Federal Fair Housing Laws||True||False|
|5. HUD is the department of Human Resources and Urban Development.||True||False|
|6. The American Disabilities Act was enacted in 1968||True||False|
|7. Property Owners can discriminate against service animals||True||False|
|8. Dogs are the only animals that can be used as comfort animals||True||False|
|9. Property Owners can charge an additional deposit for service animals||True||False|
|10. It is non-discriminatory to use advertising with phrases such as executive home, no kids, and only singles.||True||False|
|11. Housing providers must provide equal opportunities to all prospective buyers or renters, whether or not they speak English or are United States citizens.||True||False|
|12. President John F. Kennedy signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968||True||False|
|13. Sex was added as a protected class six years later in 1974. Protection from gender discrimination includes any form of sexual harassment and, as proven by recent court cases and legislation, victims of domestic violence are also afforded protections.||True||False|
|14. Discrimination in renting is now considered a practice of the past.||True||False|
|15. Despite the protection afforded those with disabilities, it is illegal for a housing provider to reserve an accessible unit only for those with disabilities.||True||False|
|16. Fair Housing requirements make it unlawful for a housing provider or homeowners’ association to refuse to allow a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification to the premises when they may be necessary to afford persons with disabilities full enjoyment of a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.||True||False|
|17. If a tenant requests a modification and is not reasonable or if would impose an undue hardship, the property owner can deny the request.||True||False|
|18. Hoarding is never a Fair Housing issue.||True||False|
|19. The law makes allowances to a property management company when they follow the property owner’s request even though it violates Fair Housing.||True||False|
|20. There are no required Federal Fair Housing posters required in a property management office.||True||False|
Follow Fair Housing because it is the right thing to do and because Professional Property Management Matters.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.