Fair housing laws have come a long way since the original Fair Housing Act. The federal law prohibits discrimination against seven protected classes when it comes to housing. The Fair Housing Act was written in 1968, and passed in April of that year.
This law is a huge factor in the way you advertise your rental property, screen residents for your home, and manage your property and your relationship throughout the residency. There are often updates and changes that must be followed. Disparate impact, for example, is a main concern when it comes to screening residents for criminal backgrounds, but it wasn’t even thought of back in 1968 when the original law was written.
Fair housing mistakes are extremely expensive for landlords and property owners. If you’re not working with a Sacramento property management company that knows the law inside and out, you could be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
Today we’re talking specifically about protected classes, and what this means for the way you lease and manage your rental home.
Federal Fair Housing Protected Classes
The federal Fair Housing Law protects the following classes of people against discrimination in rental housing. You cannot discriminate or deny housing based on:
- Skin color.
- Religion or creed.
- National origin or ancestry.
- Physical or mental disability.
- Familial status.
These are easy enough to understand. Complications arise when owners make mistakes unintentionally. For example, if you advertise your home as “close to churches” or “perfect for a single professional,” you may be discriminating inadvertently. You can no longer market your rental property with “No Section 8” terminology because Section 8 residents are entitled to apply for your home, using their housing voucher as proof of income.
Not many landlords intentionally set out to discriminate against religions, races, or disabilities. But, the way you advertise your home and the way you talk to prospective residents can have consequences. Make sure you know what you can and cannot do in terms of these protected classes.
California Fair Housing vs. Federal Fair Housing
California is a little different when it comes to fair housing. The state has even more protected classes than those listed by the federal law. In California, we get into protected classes that cover sexuality, age, veteran’s status, and citizenship.
Protected classes have rights that are easy to misunderstand. For example, a resident with a disability has the right to move into your home with a service or support animal, even if you don’t allow pets. Those Section 8 residents who are qualified have a right to live in your home even if they get their income from a government housing program.
Following fair housing laws is a lot more complex than simply making a policy of not discriminating against those protected classes. You have to have policies that reflect equal opportunity when it comes to advertising, screening, leasing, and managing your home.
We can help. If you have any questions about fair housing or anything pertaining to Sacramento property management, please contact us at Sacramento Delta Property Management.
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