Fair Housing

Fair Housing

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age will increase by 2 Million next year.  In fact, Every day for the next 18 years about 10,000 people will turn 65.  Tht’s a huge number of retired folks who will be needing a nice place to live and as a real estate investor it’s an ideal demographis to target since Senior don’t tend to move often and they can be very good long term tenants.

But  you need to keep in mind that you can reserve your property for seniors since that is age based discrimination againt other age groups.  In fact, Fair Housing Act prevents you from steering or advertising in a way that indicates a preference for age. You can’t advertise that your rental unit or home would be perfect for, say, “an older couple” even if you’ve renovated the unit with seniors in mind. Moreover, if you manage a multilevel apartment complex you can’t, for example, steer seniors to first-floor apartments even if you think they’d be more comfortable there. You must show seniors–and everyone else–all your available units.

Also, with baby boomer’s aging comes the likelihood of disability, which is also protected by  fair housing laws.  As landlords you must provide disabled people with equal housing opportunities. This might even include allowing a seeing eye dog for a blind person even if you don’t allow pets.  You might also be required to make your property wheel chair accessable by building ramps in addition to modifying the bathrooms at your own expense.

If you have less than four single-family rentals that you manage yourself and don’t advertise to the public, federal housing laws do not apply to you. But almost all states and some jurisdictions have their own fair housing regulations that in many cases offer more protections and fewer exemptions than federal law.

One good way to avoid running afoul with the fair housing laws is to implmenent very through tenant screening practices and consult an attorney on your tems.  Another option is to hire a professional property management company. As part of their licensing education, property managers are trained in avoiding problems with fair housing laws and how to properly screen potential tenants.
Contact Us if you need help with property management services which includes tenant screening for rental properties in San Jose, Campell, Saratoga and Los Gatos.