Fair Housing 101: What You Need to Know

Fair Housing 101: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a property manager or maintenance tech, being educated about the Fair Housing Act (FHA) is essential to performing your job professionally and competently. Established in 1969, the Fair Housing Act is a federal law designed to prevent discrimination against “certain protected classes” during the rental or home buying process and other housing-related activities.


If you work in the multifamily industry, here are some of the basic facts you should know about the Fair Housing Act:


Protected classes. The Fair Housing Act outlines seven protected classes to prevent discrimination among renters and homebuyers. The protected classes stated by FHA include race, color; national origin; religion; sex; familial status, and disability. This ensures every person – regardless of background or status – has an equal opportunity to rent or buy a home. All professionals in the multifamily industry should be fully educated about these protected classes and understand their impact on every aspect of the rental or buying process.


Prohibited acts. There are several “prohibited acts” that are considered illegal discrimination, according to the FHA. Some of these acts include harassment (all types), limiting services or privileges, retaliation of any sort, and unequal terms or conditions for certain individuals or groups. All professionals who work on a property or multifamily complex should know what’s included on the full list of prohibited acts and reinforce them among staff at their property.


Questions to avoid. When engaging with prospective or existing tenants at your property, it’s easy to ask questions against Fair Housing laws. There are many topics and questions considered off limits, including but not limited to, the number of kids; health; sexual, political, or religious orientation; and relationship status. Knowing what questions and topics to avoid will ensure you’re adhering to FHA regulations when interviewing tenants and engaging with those residing at your property. The bottom line? When in doubt, steer clear of questions of a personal or sensitive nature.


With housing rules and regulations changing frequently, taking time to understand FHA guidelines and how they affect your property will help you excel in your role and serve your resident community in the best way possible. By educating yourself about the Fair Housing Act, you’ll set yourself up for greater success in all areas of your career.


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