Fair Housing: The Odd & the New (Property Management Industry)


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This complimentary webinar with Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel with For Rent Media Solutions and co-presenter, Doug Chasick, “The Apartment Doctor” uncovered insider advice on the evolving and expanding changes related to Fair Housing Issues. Attendees learned what to look for as they ensure compliance across their organization. This complimentary webinar was hosted in April 2013 by Grace Hill and AppFolio.

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Fair Housing: The Odd & the New (Property Management Industry)

  1. 1. Fair Housing:The Odd & The NewfeaturingNadeen Green & Doug Chasick
  2. 2. AppFolioComplete Solution Includes:Web-BasedPropertyManagementSoftware• Property management and accounting• Online rent collection (free)• Prospect / guest card tracking• Marketing• Website• Payment processing• Online applications• Resident ScreeningSo You Run A More Successful Business
  3. 3. Grace Hill• Leading Education Provider• Apartment-Industry SpecificTraining• Vision Learning ManagementSystem (LMS)• www.gracehilllearning.com• Facebook.com/GraceHillTraining
  4. 4. Polling Question #1When you hear the words “fair housing”, yourfirst thought is?Pleasechoosethe first thought that pops into your mind:A. Again?B. Yippee!C. Wonder what’s new?D. Wonder what I did wrong?E Uh oh . . . !
  5. 5. Declawing and Debarking?What about for pets?• From a legal standpoint, probably OK.• Except in California:• SB 1229 became effective January 1, 2013.• Acommunity cannot require or advertise thatcats be declawed or dogs be debarked(“devocalized”). Infractions can cost $1000 perviolation (requirement, denial of housing,advertisement).
  6. 6. Declawing and Debarking?What about for service animals?• Not a good idea! Don’t go there.• The veterinary community at large isagainst de-barking and de-clawing ofanimals.• Asking a PWD to have such surgeryperformed on their service animal (aprocedure they may not be able to afford,nor locate a veterinarian willing to perform)could result in a fair housing complaint orcharge.
  7. 7. Genetic TestingHumansMassachusetts protects aperson’s genetic information.As other states may followsuit, don’t swab the inside ofyour resident’s mouths.
  8. 8. Genetic TestingDogsAll persons, including PWDs, can be required toclean up after their dogs.FederalRegister,Vol.73,No.208,Monday,October27,2008,page63836:“…ahousingprovidermayestablishreasonablerulesinleaseprovisionsrequiringapersonwithadisabilitytopickupanddisposeofhisorherassistanceanimal’swaste.”
  9. 9. Genetic Testing“That isn’t my dog’spoop!”There are vendors in our industrythat provide a new (and certainlyunique) service. You may swab themouth of all dogs at yourcommunity (including serviceanimals) so that waste can beanalyzed and the offending dogidentified without a doubt.
  10. 10. Tomorrow Begins MCS Month!Multiple Chemical SensitivityLast May folks with MCS were planningto visit apartment communities to askabout what will be done if someone withMCS moves in. Whether these folks werefair housing testers or whether they merelywanted to inform our industry about MCS,you need to have an understanding as towhat this is all about.
  11. 11. Polling Question #2Multiple Chemical Sensitivity could betriggered by which of the following ?Pleasechoosethe first thought that pops into your mind:A. Cigarette smokeB. Latex paintC. Old Spice cologneD. Grandma’s homemade pasta sauceE. All of the above
  12. 12. MCS1992: HUD says MCS can be a disabilityunder the FHAMCS has been determined to be a disability in Federalcourt cases, state court cases, and by other Federalagencies.Court definition: “an acquired disorder characterized byrecurrent symptoms, referable to multiple organ systems,occurring in response to demonstrable exposure to manychemically unrelated compounds at doses far belowthose established in the general population to causeharmful effects.”
  13. 13. MCSNadeen’s definition:“some folks systems can beseverely impacted if they cannot cope with even smallamounts of chemicals that the rest of us manage with justfine”.Potential issues:• what paints you use,• what extermination or pool chemicals you use,• what their neighbors may be using to smoke or clean.Should the issue arise you will have a duty to consider andpossibly REASONABLYACCOMMODATE (which isdetermined on a case-by-case basis as to if and what youmay be required to do).
  14. 14. MCSTwo More Facts:1. Ordinary allergies do not riseto the standard of MCS.2. May is alsoAsparagusMonth.
  15. 15. Polling Question #3Which of the following might be allowed as anassistive animal?Pleasechoosethe first thought that pops into your mind:A. A ferret prescribed by an aromatherapistB. A declawed and neutered alligatorC. A defanged rattlesnakeD. A miniature ponyE. A unicorn
  16. 16. Emotional Support/ComfortAnimalsANY animalassisting a PWD is aservice animal.• It does not matter whatservice the animalprovides!• All service animals areequal!A“workinganimal” and a “comfortanimal” have the samestatus.
  17. 17. Emotional Support/ComfortAnimalsAGerman Shepherd and aShih Tzu are BOTH REALDOGS:• AGerman Shepherd servingas a guide dog• AShih Tzu serving as acomfort animalare BOTH REAL SERVICEANIMALS.
  18. 18. Polling Question #4Regarding legalized and/or medicalmarijuana, I believe:Pleasechoosethe first thought that pops into your mind:A. It’s about time this was allowedB. Reefer Madness was right – just say no!C. There go all the cookies . . .D. Well, I think – you know, it’s kinda, likecool…
  19. 19. Are You Really Senior Housing?Or, What’s Old is NEW Again…HUD is taking a new interest in SeniorHousing because many are overlookingits requirements. In addition to the rightdemographics and percentages for 55+and 62+ housing…
  20. 20. Are You Really Senior Housing?You MUST AffirmativelyElect to be SeniorHousing:• in corporate records and by-laws;• with your city or countyzoning office.Where does it say officially thatyou exist to provide seniorhousing?
  21. 21. Are You Really Senior Housing?You MUST Have a Routine Age-Verification Process• How and when do you determine theages of your leaseholders and otherlawful residents?• Where are the records showing theseages?It does not matter if all of your residents are100 years of age or older if you did not verifythose ages and currently maintain agerecords.
  22. 22. Are You Really Senior Housing?A community did not do it right:• They were not allowed to exclude families withchildren until the affirmative election was madeand the process was in place.• It is mathematically possible that they will neverhave the correct “math” to once again be seniorhousing.• $49K needed to be paid and…• (OMG – a fate worse than death!) there wasrequired fair housing training.
  23. 23. Car InspectionsIs it true?Are some of you really"checking out the cars" ofpotential future residents as partof your screening process?If so,Nadeen finds this ODD – andmaybe problematic…
  24. 24. Car InspectionsConsistency is not a fair housingrequirement but it sure is a darn goodbusiness policy.Checking out cars should therefore be the process for allapplicants (each and everyone that brings a car to yourproperty).If this is your policy, it needs to be in writing.Doesn’t the leasing process have enough challengeswithout adding car inspections?
  25. 25. Car InspectionsIf you are creating a written policy forthis…• Develop very objective criteria for what is an"acceptable car".• How "bad" does it have to be to be an issue?• What if my car battery died overnight and I borroweda car to come visit your community?• What if I rode with a friend who is a slob but notplanning to rent from you?• Do I have to come back with my car for inspection?
  26. 26. Car InspectionsWhat if the condition of a carsuggests to you the person is ahoarder?• That cannot be the reason not to rent to them(because the application would be deniedbecause of the hoarding, which is a disability).• Even "thinking" hoarding opens up the fairhousing door, since "being regarded as havinga disability" is the same under the law asactually having one.
  27. 27. The End