All Employees and Resident Managers are Required To Read and confirm in writing that they understand and will fully abide by the following:
As an employee or resident manager of Belmont Brokerage & Management, Inc., you are held to the standard of the Fair Housing Act. It is Belmont Brokerage & Management, Inc.’s policy to be consistently fair in the rental of properties to prospective tenants.
The purpose of this summary is to explain to you what discrimination is, what acts constitute discrimination, and how to avoid discrimination when renting apartments. This summary constitutes a set of rules and regulations which Belmont Brokerage & Management, Inc. as the employer will require you to conform to. Any violation of these policies will mean immediate termination of your employment.
Please continue reading, and sign where indicated in order to confirm your reading and understanding of each section. Should you have any questions, contact your supervisor immediately.
The U.S. 1968 Civil Rights Act titled VIII 42 USC 3601 (as amended) Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, lease or negotiation for real property based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or handicap. It also prohibit discrimination in financing, block busting, and steering in relation to housing opportunities.
WHAT IS DISCRIMINATION?
A landlord may consider a number of different criterion in deciding whether to select a tenant or not. Some of the criteria a landlord considers are legal and proper and acceptable while other criteria are illegal, improper and may not be the reason for denying someone housing. If an illegal or non-acceptable criterion is the bases for turning an application down, this is discrimination, and the landlord is guilty of an unfair or discriminatory practice. In the case of discrimination, an applicant can file a discrimination charge and possibly win a very large lawsuit.
WHAT IS A “PROTECTED” CLASS UNDER THE LAW?
RACE: Person’s race or the race of a person with whom one associates.
COLOR: The person’s skin color
SEX: The person’s sex, including sexual harassment or intimidation.
NATIONAL ORIGIN: The country of ones birth and/or nationality of ones ancestors.
RELIGION: A person’s religious beliefs or denominational affiliations.
FAMILIAL STATUS: Individual(s) who will occupy the rental with Children or who is pregnant.
PHYSICAL DISABILITIES/HANDICAP: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits ones major life activities.
OTHER “PROTECTED” CLASSES:
MARITAL STATUS: The status of a person maintaining a household (i.e.), married, single, divorced, widowed or separated.
AGE: Individuals over the age of eighteen
SOURCE OF INCOME (LAWFUL): A person’s legal means of income, including such subsidized forms as social security, AFDC, unemployment compensation, etc. In other words, you can’t turn somebody down just because their revenues do not come from gainful employment.
BELMONT BROKERAGE & MANAGEMENT, INC.’S SPECIFIC POLICIES:
- We do allow a prospective tenant to look at any rental they wish to look at, even if you feel they would not be qualified to rent the property.
- We do not allow Resident Managers, or employees, to hold themselves out as the person to accept or reject an application. Their job is to solicit and help complete all rental applications, help the prospective resident in obtaining supporting documents when required. Belmont Brokerage & Management, Inc.’s credit department will accept or reject applications.
- We will not refuse to rent to a disabled resident, or refuse to allow alterations to be made to the property (at their expense) if they desire to rent our property.
- We do not refuse to rent to families with children, have tougher occupancy standards, nor require additional deposits with children. We do not refuse to rent to children on upper floors or near a pool because of alleged safety standards.
- We do not have any references in our advertising to “adults only”. All rental are available to families with children. No resident manager or employee is to discourage any families with children from applying to rent even though they may be concerned about damage children may cause. it will be the parents responsibility for damage caused by their children or any of their guest or themselves, no matter the age.
- We do not charge additional fees, charges, or rent based on an extra number children.
- We do not offer different lease periods or lease terms to only certain types of groups or residence. For example, we do not offer short term periods to only families with children as a trial period.
- We do not restrict occupancy of a rental as a means of avoiding to rent to certain groups of people.
- We do not deny housing to animals that provide needed assistance to a disabled individual.
- We do not forbid waterbeds, if the resident is able to provide proof of adequate insurance, and the building load factors are not exceeded.
- We do not ask any questions dealing with the nature or severity of any handicap.
- We do not refuse to rent to people with Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS).
- We do not engage in at all a discussion regarding protected subjects such as age (unless primary applicant is under age), race, disabilities, etc. Even if the tenant brings up the subject in reference to themselves when inquiring about the rental. If the applicant brings up one of the “protected” subjects, simply say that such information is not required from you for renting, or that the rentals are made available without regards to race, religion, age, sex, etc.
- We no not reveal any details of a credit report to an applicant for a rental. Each prospective tenant, if their application is declined, they will be supplied with the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting agency.
- We can and do ask any applicant if they are Fair Housing Testers. It is illegal for them to lie to you and they must answer the question truthfully.
- We can and do require the showing of an apartment be done at reasonable times of the day or evening, and that if there is a reasonable fear of your personal security, that the apartment may not be shown at that time.
EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION VIOLATIONS:
- Stating to prospective residents, “there are no other children near by,” or “there is no place for your children to play”.
- Not returning phone calls left on your answer machine because they sound like they were of a different race.
- Making statements such as: “near church”, “adults or couples preferred”, “no students”, “or mature persons”.
- You tell applicants that it may be a week or longer before you have an opportunity check their application, while you continue top accept more applications.
- Never getting back in touch with applicants at all.
- Tell prospective applicant that you are not able to show the property at this time or the property is not available or ready yet (when in fact it is available to show), and can they call back in a couple of days or in a week or so.
- Charging more rent for additional children.
- Explain to a prospective tenant that “because there is not many of your race in the area, you may be uncomfortable living here”.
- Requiring a larger deposit for a family of a different national origin.
LEGAL REASON FOR DECLINING AN APPLICATION:
- Prior evictions
- Poor credit history
- Excessive financial obligations
- Not sufficient or non-verifiable income
- False information on the application
- Does not complete process
- Family exceeds “reasonable” occupancy limits
- Poor reference/notice (unpaid rent, damages) from past landlord
- Unable to provide processing fee, required deposit or initial rent
- Unable to provide positive identification
- Does not complete application
- As an employee or resident manager, your job is to show the available apartments to prospective tenants. When a tenant is interested in the apartment, you are to give them an application top complete and a tenant criteria sheet. This criteria sheet answers many of the questions a prospective tenant may have regarding the rental application process, credit approval criteria, and standards. Your job is not to “weed out”, “sort out”, or in any way hinder or restrict prospective tenants from applying for an apartment. When giving an application to a prospective tenant who wishes to rent the apartment, you may either accept the application with the necessary deposit and immediately turn it in to Belmont Brokerage & Management, Inc. for processing, or advise the prospective tenant that they can deliver the application directly to Belmont Brokerage & Management’s main office for processing.