The Fair Housing Act, while vital in ensuring fair treatment for applicants and residents, is often misunderstood or misapplied in various situations. In this article, we will discuss common scenarios property management professionals face to help reason whether the Fair Housing Act applies or not and discuss best practices to manage somewhat tricky questions.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
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Scenario 1: Addressing Crime Concerns
A common query from residents is about the safety of the area, specifically relating to crime. As a property management professional, it’s crucial to avoid making assurances about crime rates or safety. Not only is this beyond the scope of Fair Housing Act concerns, but it can also lead to liability issues for your company.
Best Practice: Encourage residents to do their own research on local crime statistics. This approach keeps you clear of potential legal entanglements and sticks to providing factual, unbiased information.
Scenario 2: Opinions on Local Schools
When asked about the quality of local schools, it’s essential to maintain neutrality. Offering personal opinions can be misleading and is not your role as a property manager.
Best Practice: Inform potential tenants about the schools in the area without passing judgment on their quality. Encourage them to research and make their own informed decisions.
Scenario 3: Handling Late Fee Waivers
Requests to waive late fees are a frequent issue. While the Fair Housing Act doesn’t prohibit such waivers, consistency and fairness are key.
Best Practice: If you decide to waive late fees, ensure it’s done uniformly and document the reasons behind each exception. This way, you can demonstrate fairness and avoid any discrimination claims.
Scenario 4: Negotiating Rent Payments
Negotiating rent or payment methods is a normal part of business. It’s important, however, to apply the same criteria to all residents to avoid any discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
Best Practice: Be open to negotiation, but ensure that any exceptions or changes in policy are well-documented and applied consistently to all tenants, regardless of their background.
In conclusion, our exploration into common property management scenarios highlights the significance of correctly understanding and applying the Fair Housing Act. As property management professionals, staying informed and following these best practices is crucial for legal compliance and building trust with residents.
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