Posts Tagged ‘Fair Housing’

Who? Me?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by Jessica S. Weisman, Managing Partner of Client Education| Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Many landlords often make the mistake of thinking that they do not need to worry about being up to date when it comes to fair housing law. “I’m an individual landlord” “I run a small operation” “I’m not a big fish” are common misconceptions. Regardless of property/company size, any landlord can find themselves on the wrong end of a fair housing claim and/or lawsuit.

Fair Housing Month Good Time to Review Leasing Policies

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

HUD_house in handsEach April, HUD observes Fair Housing Month, in honor of the 1968 Fair Housing Act that prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status.

This year, HUD is encouraging rental applicants and tenants to exercise their rights under the Act.

In addition to the legal protections provided under the Fair Housing Act prohibiting housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status, approximately 20 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 150 cities, towns and counties across the nation also prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families.

In 2012, HUD published new regulations to ensure that the Department’s core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia, as well as several counties and municipalities
protect persons against housing discrimination based on their source of income.

A review of recent prosecutions shows confirms that HUD is making good on its promise to
pursue cases where tenants with disabilities have been denied companion animals, and
families denied housing on occupancy limits. A new ruling also clarifies that, while a
policy may not be discriminatory on its face, a landlord may still be prosecuted if that
policy causes a more subtle, “disparate” impact.

Landlords should take the time to review leasing policies for possible discrimination.
Some common areas to avoid include:

Rental ads that discourage protected tenants from applying;
Steering a protected tenant towards or away from a particular property;
Occupancy limits based on 2-per bedroom have come under scrutiny — avoid turning away
families if the property has a “bonus” room, loft, office or den that could easily be converted into a sleeping area.
Denying companion animals for tenants with disabilities, or applying any pet policies in that situation.


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Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Tenants Living Amid Rubble in Rent-Regulated Apartment War

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

The Fight for 98 Linden

After 23 years of living in their rent-stabilized apartment, Noelia Calero and her family are fighting to stay. The landlord, they say, is using intimidating tactics to push them out.

The letter from the landlord said he needed access to the apartments for a couple of weeks to make repairs.

The worker who showed up the next morning was armed with a sledgehammer and an electric saw, the tenants said, and took just hours to destroy the kitchens and the bathrooms. When the worker was done, the tenants in 1L could see the building’s basement through the remnants of their kitchen floor.

Eight months later, the kitchens and bathrooms in Apartments 1L and 1R, two rent-stabilized units on the ground floor of a six-unit building in Bushwick, Brooklyn, are still a gutted mess of exposed beams and debris. And the tenants and the landlord are locked in a standoff that underscores the anxiety coursing through changing neighborhoods, where many landlords are trying to capitalize on New York City’s robust real estate market while many lower-income tenants wonder how long they will be able to hold on to their homes.

“Our only sin is to have lived here for a long time,” said Carlos Calero, 52, a supervisor at a recycling company who pays $706 a month for the two-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife, two children and two young grandchildren.

Noelia Calero, right, and her family live in one of the apartments whose kitchens and bathrooms were destroyed. CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

Landlord-tenant disputes are a fact of life in a city where rental units are 68 percent of the housing market, though what has unfolded in that building in Bushwick, at 98 Linden Street, is not the norm, city housing officials say. But for many tenants and many landlords, the stakes are high, and who wins and who loses in such disputes has acquired new urgency amid rising housing prices that are putting pockets of the city out of reach of families like Mr. Calero’s.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to expand the number of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers to ease the housing crunch. But tenant advocates say that, in order to make a dent, the mayor must also focus on the loss of affordable apartments.

In gentrifying neighborhoods that can sustain double or triple the stabilized rent, legal aid lawyers and law enforcement officials say, many tenants face illegal and often successful pressures to move out, from buyout offers to demands that they offer proof of citizenship.

Apartments can legally be removed from rent regulation under certain conditions, including when a building’s government subsidies expire or there is a conversion to condominium or cooperative. But by far the most common way an apartment becomes market rate, according to data from the Rent Guidelines Board, is when it becomes vacant and the landlord is allowed vacancy- and improvement-related increases that bump the rent to or over the deregulation threshold of $2,500 a month.

A tightening of state rent laws in 2011 made it more difficult to deregulate an apartment, but there was still a net loss of more than 2,500 rent-stabilized apartments in 2012, the latest year for which statistics have been released by the state. That year saw at least 6,960 apartments added to the stabilized stock, mostly by property owners encouraged by tax incentives. But 9,499 apartments left the system during the same period, 71 percent because of vacancies.

Tenant advocates have the ear of Mayor de Blasio, who as public advocate ran a “worst landlord” watch list. Administration officials said that Mr. de Blasio intended for the city to “aggressively” intervene when large stabilized apartment complexes threaten removal from regulation and that he saw the need to beef up enforcement of housing and building code violations. The mayor has also promised to set up a fund to help tenants, most of whom go to housing court without lawyers, fight landlord wrongdoing.

Ms. Calero and her family have lived for months in their Brooklyn apartment with debris instead of a kitchen and bathroom. CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

One of the families in the Bushwick apartments whose bathrooms and kitchens were destroyed, whose case is being handled by Legal Services NYC and Bushwick Housing and Legal Assistance, pays $675 a month in rent and says they could not afford anything over $1,000. That family, in apartment 1R, consists of a couple, Juan Calero and Gloria Corea, 67, their daughter Noelia Calero, 31, and her husband, Rolando Cajina, 44, the only one currently holding a job, as a road maintenance worker.

“If we had an alternative,” Mr. Cajina said, “we would have left already.”

Mr. Calero and Ms. Corea, immigrants from Nicaragua, moved into their two-bedroom apartment in the early 1990s, when the neighborhood was plagued by poverty and drugs and was far from the enclave of artists, students and now young professionals that makes recurrent appearances in shows like HBO’s “Girls.” Through that transformation, the number of rental units in Bushwick that are rent-regulated had fallen to 32 percent in 2011 from 43 percent in 2002, according to data from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University.

The families in 1L and 1R, who are related, have dug in with the help of other relatives in the building who let them use their kitchen and bathroom. Their lawyer, Brent Meltzer, said that help was one reason the tenants had not received an order from the city to vacate the building. Calls to the landlord, Joel Israel of Linden Ventures L.L.C., were not returned. In papers filed with Housing Court, Mr. Israel said Linden bought the building in January 2013 and had found “structural defects which pose a hazard to the residents.” The tenants, he said, have refused offers for alternate accommodations as he tries to rehabilitate the building.

But the city’s Buildings Department records show that a previous owner completed structure reinforcement work as recently as 2012. And Mr. Israel did not obtain permits for any construction work. Last August, the Buildings Department issued a stop-work order that has yet to be lifted.

The landlord has offered contradictory explanations for the damage to the property. Before the city’s Environmental Control Board to fight a violation issued by the Buildings Department for the unpermitted removal of plumbing fixtures and floors in the two apartments, Linden Ventures’ manager, Chaim Twersky, testified last November that the tenants had vandalized their own apartments because they were being evicted. The board’s administrative law judge hearing the case found for the landlord and dismissed the case.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Written By: By  FEB. 24, 2014

ElizabethWhited Elizabeth Whited | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Elizabeth is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, and reduce crime in their communities.

5 Things Property Managers Must Know About Fair Housing

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Compliments of Appfolio.com | by: Aimee Miller

According to a recent report on fair housing trends, there were nearly 30,000 discrimination complaints filed in the United States in 2012, an increase of nearly 5% from 2011. Here are five things you should know to help avoid being the target of one of those complaints.

1. Be Careful How You Advertise
In your advertising, you can focus on amenities, attributes of your property, and location, but not on the type of tenant you want. Saying “great for young couples” can be considered discriminatory towards older renters, as an example. You shouldn’t use words like “safe” or “exclusive” since that implies that you restrict to whom you rent. Use the fair housing logo or include a statement of non-discrimination at the end of each ad.

2. Be Precise in Your Screening
Tenant screening is an area that frequently causes complaints. Have a written policy for the necessary criteria to rent your unit such as employment history/income, credit standards, etc. Outline your application process and include a statement that you adhere to all applicable fair housing laws. Your application shouldn’t include questions about physical disabilities, age, race, or ethnicity. You may, though, include questions about prior evictions, money judgments, or bankruptcy filings. You may also ask why someone is leaving his or her current unit. Keep good records of every applicant and inquiry.

3. Be Consistent with Your Apartment Rules
It’s acceptable to have mandatory apartment rules that are basic and non-discriminatory for all tenants. They should be written and uniformly enforced to all residents. Statements like “children should not be rowdy in the hallways” are unacceptable, but changing the reference to “residents and guests” is fine. Keep detailed records of any violations of the rules – time, date, and type of violation; how you became aware of the infraction and the actions you took to enforce the rule.

4. Be Detailed in Your Eviction Process

Under fair housing laws, tenants can be evicted for legitimate reasons such as non-payment of rent. For other causes be sure there has been a serious violation of the lease or a history of eviction of others for similar actions. Detailed files should contain a record of all complaints by neighbors and what has been done to respond to each. HUD historically has examined the following documentation in these situations:

  • Warning letters/eviction notices
  • Written complaints by third parties
  • Written logs kept by management
  • Police records
  • Photographs

5. Be Thorough with Employee Training
Document a written policy for employees regarding sexual and other types of harassment. All new employees must undergo training sessions that should include all memos that reference policies on how to comply with fair housing laws and the consequences for violating them. Provide all employees with a written copy of a non-discrimination policy. Have employees sign an agreement that says termination will result from violation of any fair housing law.

Being aware of and diligently following fair housing statutes is the best way to avoid having to defend a claim that could be lodged against you.


appfolioAppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Income Property Management Expo

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

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Apartment News Publications Inc. is teaming up with the Income Property Management Expo to provide Apartment Owners/Managers & Commercial Property Management Companies with tools for efficient, cost effective management, operation and maintenance of their communities & facilities!

Join us October 30, 2013 for the Bay Area Income Property Management Expo at the San Mateo Event Center!
Click Here to Pre-Register Online

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Bay Area California Attendee Information:

  • follow-us-on-twitter2Apartment Owners
  • Property Managers
  • HOA
  • Commercial Property Management Companies
  • Service & Maintenance Staff
  • Industry Partners & Vendors

View Expo Floor Plan: Click Here

Seminar Line Up:

10:00 am:  The Eviction Process – Learn more about Northern CA Rent Control & Eviction Laws

11:00 am:  Your Business is Mobile Are You? Learn how mobile is impacting your vacancy rate

12:00 pm:  The Essentials of NFPA Code – 6 Primary NFPA Tests & Inspections required for your property

2:00 pm:  Construction Defect Claims – Take action upon notice of construction defects

3:00 pm:  Fair Housing & How it Effects You

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Visit Us Online!

To learn more about the Income Property Management Expo, or to reserve a booth for the Exhibitor Floor, visit IncomePropertyExpo.com!

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