New fair-housing guidance for property managers and landlords

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01/23/2017 | Author: Editorial Staff

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently published a regulation and guidance under the Fair Housing Act that affects property management and leasing activities.

Landlords must take action against harassment.

A new rule effective Oct. 14, 2016, “Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act,” specifies how HUD will evaluate claims of hostile environment harassment and quid pro quo (“this for that”) harassment in housing. The rule may impose liability on landlords or property managers in situations where they know or should have known that a resident is being harassed, and don’t take prompt action to end the harassment when they had the power to do so.

Landlords should be careful when dealing with tenants in violation of 911 nuisance laws.

HUD issued “Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Enforcement of Local Nuisance and Crime-Free Housing Ordinances Against Victims of Domestic Violence, Other Crime Victims, and Others Who Require Police or Emergency Services.” This guidance addresses ordinances that may penalize residents for repeated emergency calls to police, even when a person is in need of protection from domestic violence or another crime. These “nuisance” or “crime-free lease” ordinances often require or allow landlords to evict residents in such circumstances, thereby discouraging victims from reporting domestic abuse or other crimes and obtaining the emergency police and medical assistance they need. Such local ordinances may violate fair-housing laws. In addition, under Texas Property Code §92.015, a landlord may not prohibit or otherwise penalize a tenant for summoning police or other emergency assistance in response to family violence.

Landlords should work with potential tenants who have trouble with English.

HUD also issued guidance that states that property managers and landlords are prohibited from using limited English proficiency selectively or as an excuse for intentional housing discrimination—for example, applying a language-related requirement to people of certain races or nationalities. Housing providers might consider allowing applicants and residents to have documents translated or letting them bring interpreters to meetings. Note that the Texas Association of REALTORS® provides members with Spanish translations of its Residential Lease (TAR 2001) and Residential Lease Application (TAR 2003) forms as a resource.

Reprinted from the December 2016 issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine.

Categories: Property Management, Legal, Landlords
Tags: legal, property management, leasing, renters, hud, fair housing act

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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