Are You Discriminating Your Applicants Without Even Knowing?
Learn About Housing Discrimination – Fair Housing Act
Housing discrimination is quite a serious issue. According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, there are more than 4 million fair housing violations annually. If you are an owner and want to rent your property, you should pay close attention to the Fair Housing laws in order to avoid lawsuits and penalties. A simple conversation starter like “Do you have any kids?” is technically illegal. It might seem like a polite conversation starter but you don’t want your prospect to think that you are treating them differently just because of their family size.
Housing discrimination is a common issue in the rental housing market. The Fair Housing Act is a law that prohibits discrimination in renting, selling, buying or financing of housing. This includes discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, nationality, religion, disability, and familial status. There can be additional protected classes in your area, so you have to do your research. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for these regulations that prohibit discrimination. This means that an owner cannot accept or deny a rental application for a reason associated with one of these protected classes. All decisions for housing should be based on a person’s creditworthiness.
The Fair Housing Law might be a bit more complicated than you think. Owners have been known to get themselves in trouble with this law in some pretty simple ways. This is because as an owner you might unintentionally discriminate because you don’t know what is considered illegal discrimination. Discrimination lawsuits are more common than you think and can cost you thousands of dollars. The Fair Housing Act extends beyond the leasing process and the screening process. It also includes advertising. As an owner, you have to pay close attention to your ads and make sure that they don’t include discriminatory language. Here is a quick example, you own a really big house, so your ad might say: “Perfect home for a big family” This is a MISTAKE! You are discriminating because familial status is one of those protected classes, so you can’t mention anything family-related.
Violations of state or federal fair housing regulations can come with five and six-figure penalties or lawsuit so you don’t want just anybody handling your rental. In Beaufort Rentals, we hold a real estate license and train all of our staff members in fair housing. We are committed to upholding the fair housing law, as well as offering equal professional service to all in their search for a home or property.
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Learn more about the Fair Housing Act