Are you familiar with The Fair Housing Laws when it comes to renting your property? The Fair Housing Act of 1974 is a federal act in the United States intended to protect the buyer or renter of a dwelling from seller or landlord discrimination. The Fair Housing Act declares a national policy of fair housing throughout the U.S. The law makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, lease, or rental of housing, or to make housing unavailable-because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Understanding fair housing is the best protection against a claim that a fair housing law has been violated.

There are many things landlords should know when it comes to fair housing. The practices that are done should be uniform for all applicants/residents. Advertising is something that should be taken into account when it comes to discrimination. When advertising, landlords should describe amenities that the property has to offer as opposed to the type of renter they desire. Including phrases such as “great for a young couple” could discriminate against families with children. Also landlords should display the fair housing logo on the bottom of each advertisement to show that the laws are followed. Apartment rules is another area that needs to be thought out.  It is absolutely acceptable for a landlord to have a set of “house rules” for all residents to live by. The rules should be written so that they are applicable to all residents. Rules must be enforced fairly against all residents and any violations should be documented and kept. Limiting the use of common facilities to tenants or guests is another area of discrimination. They should either be available to all of none but can not be limited to the persons you chose. Lastly landlords should not be afraid to evict a resident for legitimate reasons out of fear that a violation claim will occur. Documentation is the key and all records should be kept for proof.

The Fair Housing Laws are a huge part of the rental business and should be taken extremely serious. If you need additional information or have questions please check out www.RPMTidewater.com.

Resources:

http://www.homefair.com/articles/fair-housing-issues.asp

http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/law_trends_news_practice_area_e_newsletter_home/10thingslandlords.html