As a landlord, you have a unique responsibility to provide housing for your community. To ensure you’re complying with local, state and national laws while protecting yourself and your property, we’ve created a number of resources to navigate Fair Housing laws and renters’ rights.
Fair Housing Corner
Discover how to provide equal professional services to all applicants.
Income Discrimination FAQ
If you’re new to navigating the Fair Housing Act or need a refresher on how to comply with housing assistance, the Attorney General’s FAQs can help you navigate these laws and regulations.
Got questions? Find answers.
Q: What if I know my unit won’t pass inspection? Do I still need to rent to people with vouchers or families with kids?
Q: What if the owner asks me to include “no vouchers" in the ad?
Let the owner know that you cannot do that because it violates the law! A person who has a voucher is a member of a protected class – it is illegal to publish discriminatory language targeting a member of a protected class. There are no exemptions to this rule.
Q: A tenant asked about making a change to the apartment or our agreement because of their disability. Where can I learn more about what I need to do and what information I can ask for?
The Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development have very helpful memos on accommodations (changes in policy) or modifications (structural changes). These memos can be found here:
What Can I Do to Make Sure I’m Complying With the Laws?
Real Estate Professionals move in a fast-paced market, and respond to the needs of owners, buyers and renters alike. Providing excellent customer service to all your clients while staying on top of a competitive real estate market can be difficult.
Below are several techniques to ensure that a busy day does not become a fair housing issue:
- Establish a master or checklist you can adapt for each property you handle.
- Have a template email or other correspondence. That way you can make sure you are asking everyone for the same information every time.
- Remember, asking for references, credit checks or criminal background checks is completely legal – as long as EVERY APPLICANT is asked for the same information, and not just certain groups of people.
- Consider keeping a call log for every property. That way, you can ensure everyone is receiving the same level of customer service and timely response.
- Be prepared. If an owner asks for you to put discriminatory language in an apartment listing, or asks you to engage in a discriminatory practice, it is your responsibility to know the law. Your license is on the line, and you are liable for carrying out your client’s request to discriminate. Have information – like that contained on this page – at the ready so you can educate the owner on the relevant issues and rules. Be ready to inform the owner of everyone’s fair housing rights and responsibilities. Encourage your clients to develop criteria for evaluating prospective tenants and to apply the same criteria equally to all those interested in renting.
- Lastly, engage in self-reflection. Everyone possesses assumptions and biases. When we are at our busiest, those assumptions act like shortcuts to save us time and brain power. However, these assumptions are often implicit biases that can impact the way we treat people and even expose us to legal liability.
Below, please find some resources that may be helpful as you navigate the needs of your clients as well as your Fair Housing rights and responsibilities:
The Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord and Tenant Rights
Learn More about the Lead Law