Fair housing laws are designed to protect people against discrimination when they’re looking for rental housing. While most landlords don’t intentionally discriminate against potential tenants, it can be easy to make a mistake that violates fair housing laws. This can be a damaging and expensive liability for landlords who do not completely understand the fair housing requirements.
Federal Fair Housing Laws
The federal fair housing laws are managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and they are being updated and changed all the time. According to these laws, there are seven protected classes against whom you cannot discriminate. You cannot deny housing to a prospective tenant based on:
- Familial Status
- National Origin
State and Local Fair Housing Laws
In addition to federal fair housing guidelines, you must also pay attention to the fair housing laws enforced by the state of Louisiana and your particular parish. For example, in Orleans parish you cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identification, age, creed, or marital status. Consult the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center for help and to understand your responsibilities as a landlord.
Working with a Property Manager
When you work with a professional property management team, you have a better chance of staying out of trouble with fair housing. Running an ad that states a property is “perfect for families” could be considered discriminatory, for example. Even if you do something that results in discrimination, you can violate fair housing laws. It’s a complicated part of being a landlord, and your property manager can protect you against mistakes.
Don’t get in trouble with fair housing. Talk to a professional property manager in New Orleans who can help you effectively market for tenants, screen tenants, and place tenants without violating the laws. You need a consistent and documented process that establishes you do not discriminate in finding and managing tenants.
If you have any questions about fair housing or New Orleans property management, please contact us at Latter & Blum Property Management.