Federal Fair Housing Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act was first passed in 1968 to prevent discrimination against people who are looking to rent or buy a home. It has been updated many times since it was first enacted. Currently a landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap.
Advertising Your Maryland Rental Property
When advertising a rental, you cannot express a preference for any type of tenant if such a preference falls into one of the seven protected classes. This covers all forms of advertisement including brochures, banners, posters and signs. However, it also covers anything you personally say in writing, over the phone, or even in conversation. This means you cannot say in an advertisement: “no kids” or “must be an American born citizen.” Even stating such things as “great family neighborhood” could be implied as a discrimination against prospective renters or buyers who are single or do not have families.
Some people have interpreted the law in a rather extreme way. As a result, there are false rumors about what you can and can’t say. For example, you could say “kosher meals served on site,” but not “Jewish only apartment complex.” To put it simply, you can say whatever you want as long as you don’t express a preference or discourage people from applying based on the seven protected classes mentioned above. Anne Arundel County property management companies like Wright Property Management Group, LLC can help you make sure you’re not breaking any rules with your advertising.
The Application Process
The application process should be handled in a similar way. Develop a list of criteria that state what is necessary in order for someone to live in your properties and explain what these criteria mean. Questions on your application shouldn’t ask about the race of an occupant, their religious preferences, or whether they have physical or mental disabilities. You can ask about employment, income, prior evictions, and credit score (or information to perform a credit check). These questions help a landlord know if the client will have the ability to pay each month, and also whether or not they have a history of being a bad tenant, without giving the landlord any information that they could use to make unfair discriminations. Once again, a good property manager can help you stay in compliance.
Maryland Has Taken Act A One Step Further
In addition to the seven protected classes under the Federal Fair Housing Act, Maryland also considers creed, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status as protected classes. Maryland landlords must ensure that they do not discriminate against these additional classes in their advertising, screening, and rental practices.
Not following the Fair Housing Anti-Discrimination guidelines will cost you... When in doubt, seek the assistance of a property manager.
About Wright Property Management Group, LLC
Our business is to provide our clients with management solutions that help their residential single family, multifamily, townhouses, condos and apartments operate smoothly, increase in desirability and enhance investment value. That's why property owners and investors who reside locally, nationally and internationally depend on Wright Property Management Group, LLC to help achieve their property performance and profitability goals. From Tenant Placement Service to Full Property Management we ensure that our client's investment is well managed to attract and retain tenants.
We proudly serve all of Maryland including: Annapolis, West Annapolis, Historic Annapolis, Eastport, Annapolis Roads, Bay ridge, Hillsmere, Thomas Point, Arundel On The Bay, Wardour, Crofton, Homewood, Murray Hill, Bestgate, Severna Park, Easton, Centerville, Laurel, Bowie, Admiral Heights, St. Margarets, Camebridge, Cape Saint Claire, Arnold, Preston, Cownsville, Sherwood Forest, The Downs, Epping Forest, Chestertown, Riva, Edgewater and more!