Friday, July 5, 2019 / by Harvey Rosenberg
What does the Fair Housing Act Mean?
The short answer is that the Fair Housing Act protects tenants from housing discrimination. This is a federal law, applied across the United States.
This essentially means you cannot discriminate renting your home based on age, gender, race, religion, familial status, national origin, or sexual preference.
Additionally, the equal credit opportunity acts state that a credit application may not be discriminated against because of the above as well as if the applicant's income derives from any public assistance program.
That being said, it's not discrimination if the applicant does not meet the credit score or income requirements. Everyone is allowed to apply, but may not be approved based on financial requirements.
What about age-restricted communities?
While the FHA bans discrimination against families with children, if the property qualifies as senior housing, age restrictions are allowed.
What about setting rental guidelines?
You can, however, set guidelines for your home that do not fall under FHA discrimination rules.
Stipulating that your renters do not have pets, do not smoke in your home, abide by community quiet hours, is allowed.
Additionally, note that local housing authorities allow for two people per bedroom to live in a home. Therefore, you may not limit the size of the family below the number of bedrooms in the home. A three bedroom house, for example, can have up to six residents.
How do You Handle Fair Housing?
One way to ensure that you're abiding by the Fair Housing Act is to use a property management company. Because they live and breath rentals each day, they're familiar with the laws and how to abide by them.
Additionally, you can hire a lawyer to review your application process, as well as credit checks, etc. Usually, with a property management company, they have a lawyer on retainer. Therefore, if there are any questions or concerns, a lawyer can step in easily.