In 2020 there have been some new fair housing developments. As a landlord, it is important to keep up with these developments and put them in place at your properties. Learn about the most recent Fair Housing developments below:
COVID-19 and Fair Housing Discrimination
COVID-19 does not discriminate. However, many people are making it a racial and/or political issue. While everyone is welcome to their own opinions, landlords may not share these discriminatory feelings with tenants. Landlords also can’t discriminate in regard to housing and the virus. For example, if a person is wearing a mask, that does not mean they are sick. It also doesn’t mean you can deny them a tour or lease. You can require temperatures to be taken and/or tours to be virtual or non-contact.
The Fair Housing Project encourages any individuals that feel discriminated against by their landlord or potential landlord due to the COVID-19 crisis to report it. This includes any comments or actions regarding the virus that are about race, nationality, disability, etc. This also covers a tenant in case a landlord is spreading false information in regards to the virus or violating social distancing guidelines for their employees or tenants. This may include allowing large groups in common areas, requiring everyone to work in the office without checking if they are sick, etc.
HUD 2020 Civil Penalties
In March 2020, HUD published the new amounts for violations to be owed. These penalties went in to effect early last month. There are fees to be charged to any individual breaking Fair Housing Laws once or more.
Fair Housing violations include:
- A maximum civil penalty of $21,410 for a first violation
- A maximum fine of $53,524 for any landlords or properties that have violated the law before in the past 5 years
- A third (or any more than 2) violation occurring within 7 years can be charged up to $107,050
The amounts listed are maximums and the actual fine will depend on the violation. Extra costs in addition to violation penalties include; court fees, lawyer fees, and costs that may be rewarded to the individual that was discriminated against.
At the end of the day, these laws are in effect to protect tenants. Landlords need to pay attention to the laws because if not, they could receive hefty fines and even jail time. In addition, the laws provide a safe environment for tenants and as a landlord, you should always want that!
What is Fair Housing?
Now that you know the new laws and fines in regards to the Fair Housing Project/Laws, it is important to understand more about what it means. Learn more below:
The fair housing act is a set of laws in place to protect tenants’ rights and accessibility.
The act protects those with disabilities from discrimination
The act also protects from racism, discrimination due to sexual orientation, nationality, and more.
The established policies are in place to allow all Americans equal opportunity to fair housing of their choice.
Other items the Fair Housing Act Covers:
- Emotional Support and Assisted Disability Animals
- Sexual harassment
- Unlawful or discriminatory eviction
- Discrimination in housing and rental ads
- Families with children
When to Consult a Montgomery County Property Management Company
We have made it a point to reiterate how important following Fair Housing Laws is. If you are a new landlord or one with not much experience, it may be best to hire a property management company. A property management company will have the tools, lawyers, and knowledge to run, lease, and maintain your property without violating Fair Housing Laws. It may save you from making costly mistakes with tenants and potential tenants.
Bay Property Management Group Montgomery County is a full-service Maryland property management company with a great reputation. We can assist with any and all aspects of leasing, property management, and rent collection. All our employees are highly trained in Fair Housing Laws. They will guarantee all the property management and leasing tasks are done so legally.