Professional property management companies must comply with national and state fair housing regulations - failure to do so can mean severe consequences, both legal and in the form of damage to company reputation. It can be a difficult task to ensure that all of your employees understand and follow these requirements so that they are effectively and responsibly carried out during the day to day activities of running your property management business. One way to ensure compliance is to provide employees with a training guide and a point of reference - a policy and procedure manual. However, you must make sure your policy and procedure manuals are accurate and up to date.
Jean Storms MPM ®, a property management industry expert and owner of LandlordSource.com, outlines some suggestions in her article "Do Your Manuals Comply with Fair Housing." In it she challenges property management companies to go through their manuals regularly to make sure they remain an asset and do not become a liability. Here is an overview of questions you should ask yourself, but be sure to read the complete article to get some specific implementation advice
- Do you have a general Fair Housing Policy in your company manual?
- Do you include specifics about the Fair Housing legislation that form the backbone of today's Fair Housing Laws?
- Does your manual include state-specific fair housing laws, which may dictate additional requirements?
- Do you update your manual regularly to ensure it changes along with law?
- Do you educate your current staff about the changes?
Fair Housing Compliance touches many key areas of day to day property management from marketing and advertising, to conversations with tenants and owners, to the questions asked on forms and documents. It important to educate your new and existing staff, give them a reliable reference point (like a policy and procedure manual), and to emphasize the importance of following the law by keeping your staff current as the law changes.
Let's Talk. Does your property management company have policy and procedure manuals for your staff? How do you make sure your team members keep Fair Housing compliance top of mind as they are servicing your prospective and current owners and tenants?