What You Need to Know about the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act was adopted in 1968 to ensure that landlords do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap when renting properties. This means you cannot refuse to rent housing or set different terms (such as higher rent) based on these criteria. As a landlord, it’s important to understand how the Fair Housing Act applies to you.
Advertising the Right Way
In order to find tenants for your property, you'll most likely advertise in a variety of ways. While you want to make your rental property sound appealing, you'll need to avoid certain suggestive phrases that indicate a preference toward a specific type of renter. For example, avoid mentioning that your home is great for young couples, because that may be seen as discriminatory against families with children. When describing your property, it’s a good idea to stick to basic facts such as square footage, number of bedrooms, size of the yard, and other features that may be appealing to prospective tenants.
Showing Your Property
When showing your property to prospective tenants, be sure to give them a tour of the entire space without omitting any areas. Also, avoid emphasizing specific features. Alternatively, you can let your prospective tenants explore the property on their own without directing them. Refrain from talking about people in the community, as this could get you in legal trouble. For example, you shouldn’t say that it’s quiet because there are few children in the neighborhood.
Screening Your Tenants
A tenant application protects your real estate investment as well as the well-being of your tenants and their neighbors. That’s why the Fair Housing Act allows you to refuse someone who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or who currently uses illegal drugs.
As a landlord, you should have a policy detailing the necessary criteria for the application process. Your decision to rent to tenants will be based on their income, employment history, and credit. For example, you can require that your tenants’ gross income has to meet or exceed three times the rent payment. However, you cannot stipulate marriage as a necessary condition for renting to couples.
Setting the Rules
It’s okay to have apartment rules. In fact, if you want your tenants to take care of your property, having a written set of rules is a good idea. In order to comply with the Fair Housing Act, house rules should always apply to all residents. For example, you cannot forbid children to stay away from the apartment pool. However, you can require that children younger than 12 be supervised in the pool area.
Putting It All Together
Maintain records of everything, including tenant applications (even the ones that were rejected), house rules, incidents of house rule violations, etc. Additionally, you should display the Fair Housing logo or insert appropriate disclaimers in your advertising and tenant applications to inform potential tenants that you don’t discriminate and are aware of the Fair Housing Act, as well as its stipulations.
If you have to evict a tenant, notify him/her as required by your state laws. If you’re ever unsure about the finer points of the Fair Housing Act or are dealing with a fair housing claim, you should consider consulting an attorney.
When it comes to having a tenant for the first time, it can be pretty daunting because you are going to be the corresponding landlord and a new relationship will emerge, which will need time to grow... More
Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More
The landlord and tenant laws in California are literally the same as they are in any other state. These laws, rules and regulations are put into practice because they uphold an order, a discipline,... More
People are aware that there are different rulings in each state with reference to the landlord/tenant laws. The state of Illinois also has a set of laws. These rules and regulations are basically... More
When it comes to reviewing a rental application, all of it may seem daunting; you will find it overwhelming because there is so much information that you yourself have to go through before the tenant... More
Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More
Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More
All landlords know that before they can formally become a landlord there are a lot of things they need to understand. Landlords and tenants cannot act as such without any legal bodies involved. That... More
Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More
If you’re a landlord and want to manage your business in a better way, you should endeavor to get in touch with those industry experts who have the experience and the skills to help you do it. This is... More