Fair Housing training for maintenance professionals is a compliance prerequisite. Housing providers sometimes overlook this need. Often they are the first team members who arrive after a maintenance call comes in. They interact with residents on a regular basis. Kindness and courtesy can often be misinterpreted. We want kindness and courtesy to always be maintained. Scenario based Fair Housing training goes a long way to create a good balance.
Many housing providers send their leasing agents and managers to fair housing training because it’s good business to do so. We like to remind our readers it’s also a good business practice to train your maintenance employees on the types of fair housing issues that may arise. Here are examples of the kinds of fair housing cases that involve maintenance employees
An employee doesn’t like a particular resident, and so avoids doing work in her apartment. Later the employee files a fair housing complaint against the apartment community. Among the allegations she makes in the complaint is that her maintenance requests are often responded to later than other people because of her race. In this instance, Fair Housing training for maintenance would entail much more than just knowing that race is a protected class.
A maintenance employee who is “too friendly” offends a female resident. He appears to go out of his way to be around her building in the afternoons. He also makes comments about her appearance and suggests that they go out for a drink sometime. Although the maintenance employee’s actions may not be illegal, they are not good business. The resident could add these allegations of sexual harassment to complicate a fair housing complaint about other issues. The burden of proof is irrelevant. The allegation takes away time and resources from your team. Fair Housing training for maintenance professionals should absolutely cover scenarios that include potential sexual harassment allegations.
A resident asks a maintenance employee to perform several modifications to his apartment that the resident says are needed because of the resident’s disability. The maintenance employee tells the resident he’s done similar work for another resident, and instructs the resident to put in a work request, but is told by the office staff that the resident will need to have the work done by a contractor and will be expected to pay for the work. The resident is angry because he thinks he’s being treated differently than the resident who had the work done by the maintenance employee. How does Fair Housing training for maintenance professionals come into play here? Training regarding reasonable modifications, the American with Disabilities Act, and communications skills would definitely help your maintenance pro be ready for these types of situations.
Fair Housing Training For Maintenance – The Bottom Line
Each of these situations can be defended and are probably not going to be found to be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. However, each of these situations could have been handled better, possibly avoiding the resulting fair housing case. Fair Housing training for maintenance staff should also cover the importance of fair, equal, and professional treatment by employees. Although the maintenance employees don’t need the detailed information concerning the fair housing issues involved with processing applications and making selection decisions, they do need to understand how their actions can result in a fair housing problem. The bottom line….Fair Housing training for maintenance professionals is paramount.
Learn more about our online Fair Housing training options.