The Frontlines of Fair Housing - The Fair Housing Institute, Inc.

The Frontlines of Fair Housing

Our maintenance professionals are genuinely on the frontlines when it comes to interacting with residents. But do your people know how to handle the situations that often arise and can quickly go from fair housing compliance to a fair housing complaint?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Maintenance staff encounters various situations every day that other staff would not necessarily experience. In this article, we will review why maintenance training is so essential and review a few common scenarios that highlight how seemingly innocent situations can quickly turn into a fair housing complaint.

Why Is Fair Housing Training Important for Maintenance Professionals?

Fair housing training is vital for all staff. Maintenance professionals are on the frontlines of providing a good customer service experience. They need training that will aid in being sensitive and careful in what they say and how they say it. That being said, the training should also be specific to the type of situations they come across while completing their daily tasks. 

Over the years, there have been so many fair housing lawsuits and complaints that are directly the result of the actions of a maintenance staff member. This is partly due to the belief that many companies have that fair housing training is not necessary for maintenance employees. 

As stated above, the fact that there are so many lawsuits and fair housing complaints would dictate otherwise. Let us consider a few scenarios highlighting how training can help our maintenance professionals avoid potential fair housing complaints.

A Favor, or Standard Customer Service?

One of the most common requests for maintenance staff fields is when a resident asks for their help moving something. It seems innocent enough if this is the kind of thing that is done for all residents. If not, and the staff member only does it for particular residents, this can quickly appear discriminatory. A good policy to have is that if you are going to do favors for one resident, you need to do favors for all residents.

The Case of the Towel-Clad Resident

A maintenance employee responds to a work order, and the resident comes to the door with nothing but a towel and doesn’t seem concerned. In fact, they tell them to come in and get started while they go get dressed. Now what? Again we are faced with a situation that perhaps looks innocent but could be misconstrued as sexual harassment. The right thing to do in a situation like this is leave. The best policy is a very brief explanation that someone will be in contact to reschedule and then a rapid retreat. Along with that, an incidence report should be filed, and a supervisor informed.     

These are only a few of the many different situations that maintenance professionals come across, but they highlight the importance of targeted fair housing training. In summary, be sure that you and your staff are following fair housing best practices by keeping your training up to date.


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