Fair housing laws are federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in housing based on certain characteristics such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Property managers must comply with these laws to avoid legal consequences and ensure equal opportunities for all applicants and tenants. Here’s what property managers need to know about fair housing laws.
There are protected characteristics; the Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. State laws may also protect additional characteristics such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and age. Property managers must not discriminate against any person based on these protected characteristics.
Prohibited Practices are to keep in mind. Property managers must not engage in any practices that discriminate against individuals based on protected characteristics. This includes advertising, screening, selecting, and evicting tenants. For instance, a property manager cannot refuse to rent to a person based on their race or national origin.
Remember to have reasonable accommodations: Property managers must provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations may include modifications to the property to accommodate a disability or allowing a tenant with a disability to have a service animal. Property managers must not charge extra fees or make it difficult for tenants with disabilities to use these accommodations.
Acknowledge the familial status; property managers must not discriminate against families with children under the age of 18. This includes refusing to rent to families with children or imposing different rules on families with children. However, there are some exceptions for senior housing and certain communities.
Compliance requirements are in place. Property managers must comply with fair housing laws and take steps to prevent discrimination. This includes providing fair housing training to employees, creating written policies and procedures, and monitoring compliance. Property managers must also keep records of applications, leasing documents, and any other relevant information to demonstrate their compliance.
Enforcement is due; fair housing laws are enforced by various agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and state and local fair housing agencies. Property managers who violate fair housing laws may face fines, penalties, and lawsuits. It’s essential to take fair housing laws seriously and ensure compliance to avoid legal consequences.
In conclusion, property managers must comply with fair housing laws to ensure equal opportunities for all applicants and tenants. Property managers must not discriminate based on protected characteristics, provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities, and comply with fair housing laws’ requirements. Property managers who violate fair housing laws may face serious legal consequences, and it’s essential to take these laws seriously and ensure compliance.
For more information, speak with the professionals at Reed Property Management, so that they may answer any questions you may have. Just give us a call at (239) 351-2880 or contact us via our website or email.