Our most recent webinar with Grace Hill featured Fair Housing Expert, Trainer Donna. Donna covered a range of issues and offered many great best practices on how to stay compliant with Fair Housing laws. The webinar was so popular that we hit our maximum attendance again! Below is the recorded webinar.

Our next webinar is in May, featuring Lisa Trosien. Stay tuned for more details!

Fair Housing Q&A with Trainer Donna

Are military discounts considered discriminatory?
It is fine to offer a military discount.

Can you provide the web address for the suggested Fair Housing word list?

Are apartment complexes allowed to restrict large dog owners to the first floor?
Yes! Dogs are not a protected class. However, if a person with a disability was to request a higher floor level it would be a reasonable accommodation.

Can you elaborate on the breed limitations for service animals?
A housing provider may exclude an assistance animal from a housing community when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat and its owner takes no effective action to control the animal’s behavior so that the threat is mitigated or eliminated. The direct threat provision of the Fair Housing Act requires there be an existence of a significant risk, not a remote or speculative risk. The determination cannot be the result of fear or speculation about the types of harm or damage an animal may cause, or evidence about harm or damage caused by other similar animals.

Do we have to simply take their word for it that their pet is a service animal? What kind of documentation can we ask for?
You can request a letter from his/her health care provider verifying that he has a disability (but no details about it) and has a disability-related need for this animal.

Is there a limit to the number of service animals allowed per resident?
If a health care provider says the person needs 3 animals for their disability then that’s the requirement for that person. But you then need to determine if this is a reasonable accommodation for your area, city ordinance, etc.

Where may I go to find information about the rights of a landlord when there is harassment coming from residents?
Be sure to discuss the situation with your supervisor, human resource department or corporate attorney to get directions or guidelines for handling. Most companies have policy and procedures for this sort of harassment.

If I received some phone calls throughout the day where I stated that we had a certain type of apartment available and than an application is returned from the day before along with a deposit, do I have to call back everybody I spoke with to let them know the apartment is no longer available? Should I always state that I have a certain number or type available at this time but that could change at any given moment?
When letting telephone prospects know what’s available it’s a good idea to let them know that availability could change. More importantly is ensuring you have written documentation of your availability ever day!

If a prospective resident says he/she has allergies & wants the carpet removed & the floor tiled – we can have them pay for this modification, correct? Do we have to make this modification?
Yes, you could require the prospective resident pay to have this done. Do you have to make the modification would depend on if it was a reasonable accommodation for your community.

If a person applies for an apartment and the property does not have a handicapped accessible unit, who converts the unit and does the person have to put funds in escrow to replace the unit back to original condition?
A person should be allowed to make a “reasonable modification,” and when doing so management may request that the work be done in a professional manner and that required permits be obtained. The management company may also require funds be put into escrow to put the apartment back to original condition if the modifications will interfere with the next person living in that unit. The Department of Justice and HUD published extensive guidance regarding reasonable modification issues in a document entitled Reasonable Modifications Under the Fair Housing Act which can be found on HUD.gov.

Would we have to provide handicapped parking for an older resident who requests it? When is handicapped parking required?
A state disabled parking permit is sufficient proof of need for a reserved accessible parking space. Or, if they provide documentation from a health care provider.

Why is it acceptable to say “no college students” (on mvfairhousing.com list)? Isn’t this age discrimination?
It depends on your state and local laws. If students are an additional protected class in an area then this would not be acceptable. Keep in mind that the word list is a guideline not the law.