THE ESSENTIAL RULE
SCREENING AND STEERING POTENTIAL TENANTS
Steering prospective tenants to certain properties could be discriminatory. It is acceptable for a tenant to request to skip a property, but a landlord should never suggest certain types of property or mention types of people that live around certain types of properties, as these activities suggest discrimination and a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Written policies in regard to applications is always a best practice for landlords and if any tenant asks the landlord to deviate from a standardized application process, the landlord should consult legal counsel before moving forward. GRIFFITH LAW GROUP recommends two important steps in this regard. First, landlords should formally adopt and utilize the Fair Housing Act’s Equal Housing Opportunity Logo and the nondiscrimination statement which reads:
“(name of company) does not discriminate based on ancestry, race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, nation origin or military status.”
THE LEASE, RULES OF THE PROPERTY, AND REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS
EVICTION AND LOCAL RULES
Ultimately, staying in compliance with the Fair Housing Act is all about treating all tenants the same and documenting the landlord’s every decision and act. Some complicated issues, such as local occupancy standards, employee training standards, harassment issues, modifications to the property and so on can arise with tenants who feel they have been discriminated against. Remember an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
GRIFFITH LAW GROUP recommends that landlords have all tenant documents reviewed by an attorney to ensure compliance, including: the application, the lease, and any rental property rules or regulations. For more information or training concerning compliance with Fair Housing Act, contact GRIFFITH LAW GROUP at (317) 663-0650 or by email to one of our attorneys.