How To Advertise Your Property Within The Bounds Of The Fair Housing Laws

Fair Housing Violations are more common than you think and each year more than 28,500 Fair Housing violations are reported. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing for these 8 protected classes: Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Sex, Familial Status & Disability. If you are renting a property you need to know your responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. Our staff is trained in these laws and it’s highly recommended you to take a fair housing course at least once a year. It’s also very important to familiarize yourself with your state laws as it may vary. We know you would never think about violating The Fair Housing Laws on purpose, but sometimes it’s the subtle things you don’t think about that can cause you problems. 

It is important for you to know that discrimination in housing advertisements is illegal under the Fair Housing Act. This is why it is fundamental for you to know and understand the Fair Housing Act and ensure you are practicing responsible, nondiscriminatory advertising. When advertising your property, it is illegal to specify a preference or limitation based on any of the protected classes. According to the Fair Housing Act, advertising includes print and online advertisements such as brochures, billboards, newspapers, applications, television, radio, and even speech. All verbal communication that occurs in person or on the phone with a prospective tenant is considered a form of advertising.

Nowadays digital advertising is one of the best places to spread the word about your listing. You have to be very careful with your word choices when advertising your property. One simple rule to follow that will keep you out of trouble is to describe the property, not who you think might be a potential tenant. Focus on the property, describe its characteristics and amenities. Do not make statements that discriminate or expresses a preference or limitation for any type of renter. Do not exclude from your marketing campaign, persons of the protected classes. If you use pictures in your advertisements, make sure that the images are inclusive. Vary the use of human models in your ads, use people from different races, sexes, and people with disabilities. The law says you can’t use “words, phrases, photographs, illustrations, symbols or forms of any kind” which tend to give the impression that your property is available or not available only to certain types of people.

Some examples discriminatory statements in advertising are “ideal for young couples,” “perfect for families,” “perfect for a retired couple,” “sorry, no kids” & “English speakers only” However, using phrases such as “great view” “walk-in closets,” “gorgeous remodeled kitchen” “spacious bright rooms” & “high ceilings” are acceptable. Fair Housing advertising doesn’t need to cause anxiety, you just need to know and understand the law.