Recently I came across an article about a Fair Housing lawsuit brought about in Massachusetts. The condensed version of the story is that a woman was looking for an apartment and the leasing agent asked where she was from. The woman answered the question and the visit continued. However, this woman apparently did not appreciate the question which she claims was asked to determine her national origin. What resulted was a $61,500 penalty against the community.
Here is the link to the original article: http://massrealestatelawblog.com/2014/01/26/asking-where-are-you-from-results-in-60000-discrimination-penalty/
The Multifamily industry is now in an uproar over what many are considering to be harmless small talk. However, the solution is very simple—be consistent.
Consistency is key to avoiding Fair Housing violations. What you do for one person, you must do for every other. At CLASS, consistency is the cornerstone of our Fair Housing training. Our Leasing Specialists ask each prospect the same questions and document the answers along with any specials being offered. The error comes when you single out a prospect and ask a question that could be seen as discriminatory.
If the Massachusetts leasing agent asked every prospect where they were from and documented it on the guest card, we wouldn’t be talking about this at all. The bottom line is be consistent and document!