FAIR HOUSING LAWS REGARDING CHILDREN
During the month of April, Fair Housing will be celebrated across the country. ( See our previous blogs on the subject : April is National Fair Housing Month – Know the Laws ; April is National Fair Housing Housing Month Part II – Advertising Caution) .
One of the Fair housing no no’s is: Do not discriminate against a tenant on the basis of familial status, i.e. do not turn down a prospective tenant or take action against an existing tenant, simply because they have children.
Fair Housing violations can even come about with the best intentions – trying to be helpful. For example, telling a mom that you have a better property or unit down the block for their kids. This is called steering. So, when you are talking to a prospective or existing tenant with children – watch what you say and what you do!
So, what can you do if other tenants complain about the children next door who make noise, slam doors, blast music and video games and bang their drums 24-7? Is the handling of that type of kid disturbance an exception to the Fair Housing rules? The answer is NO! Noise is noise and if the noise and disturbance is excessive then deal with it like any other real disturbance. Do not focus on the fact that it is the children making the noise and never focus on the age of the noisemaker. You never want the tenant to misinterpret your actions as really complaining about their children and not the real problem – the noise. Simply address it like any other noise disturbance and if necessary, a Seven Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure can be served.
Remember, your Tenants have a contractual right to “quiet enjoyment” and if that is being breached, then it is ok to take appropriate action to resolve – regardless of the age of the noisemaker. So long as your rules apply to everyone & not just children, you are good.
Fair Housing Month is a reminder for all: property managers, realtors, asset managers, maintenance teams and any one else dealing with a tenant (whether prospective or actual) – to be very careful and diligent in not violating the Fair Housing Laws – they are very costly to defend and resolve.
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This BLOG is to provide helpful information and should not be considered legal advice