Excerpted from the AZBigMedia blog by Robbie Cronrod
In October, a Massachusetts landlord who refused to rent apartments to pregnant women or families with minor children was found guilty of violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act.
The same month, the New York City Fair Housing Center sued a landlord for allegedly quoting higher rental rates to black individuals posing as prospective tenants than to their white counterparts as well as for rejecting applicants with public rent assistance and making children undergo unnecessary lead tests.
Five months earlier, a federal jury in Montana fined a landlord for charging a disabled tenant $1,000 to have a service animal.
Cases like these are stark reminders of the risks of neglecting to follow rules designed to protect renters from discrimination.
Every landlord, property manager and real estate agent should know not to ask verbal or written questions about an applicant’s race, skin color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or family status such as pregnancy and the presence of children under 18 – the seven classes protected under the Fair Housing Act.
The same protections bar landlords from other behavior that can be deemed discriminatory such as posting ‘For Rent’ signs only in Spanish (discouraging non-Spanish-speaking applicants) or promoting a property in terms like “great building for single professionals” (discouraging families with children, married couples and partnered couples).
But knowing and complying can be two different things, especially with the continual evolution of case law related to housing discrimination.
You can read the full blog here.