Housing Providers

Tips for Housing Providers

Keep complete and accurate records

Even landlords committed to fair housing can find themselves facing a fair housing complaint. Accurate records are the best defense against any allegations of unfair housing practices.

Apply rules consistently to all tenants

It may be difficult to defend against discrimination complaints if the manager or landlord has, in fact, applied rules more stringently to some tenants than others.

Retaliation is illegal

Never allow the filing of a fair housing complaint to influence your decision to take any adverse action against a tenant.

Distinguish between senior living and familial status discrimination

Retirement housing and housing for seniors are still allowed, but must adhere to the guidelines imposed by the Fair Housing Act. It is illegal to exclude children as tenants unless the housing is specifically marketed as housing for older persons.

Accommodate tenants with disabilities

It is a violation of fair housing law to:

  • Refuse to rent because of a disability
  • Refuse reasonable structural modifications to improve access (at the tenant's expense)
  • Refuse to make reasonable policy exceptions

Watch for inadvertent violation of familial status laws

Safety rules must be carefully developed to avoid conflict with laws prohibiting discrimination against families with children. A manager or landlord may unknowingly violate the law while attempting to implement safety rules.

Convey your Fair Housing commitment to managers, rental agents and tenants

Remind your managers and tenants of your commitment to fair housing. Display Fair Housing posters in prominent locations. Periodically distribute a statement of your commitment to fair housing to your tenants in community newsletters and bulletins.

Encourage managers to attend regular training

Laws change. Congress passes new laws and amendments. Court decisions add new meaning to existing laws. A manager or leasing agent may inadvertently break the law by not realizing the law had changed. It is recommended to have your rental staff attend a training class or seminar in fair housing at least once per year.

Communicate with your tenants

"Effective communication skills" may be an overused phrase these days, but it is invaluable in landlord/tenant relations. Clearly convey, and patiently explain to your tenants any decisions or actions you take that may have a negative impact on their housing situation.

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