Pursuant to an agreement released just last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it resolved a race discrimination Fair Housing Act (FHA) case for $20,000. The case, involving a property management company with many properties in the Los Angeles area, was filed by a fair housing tester group in southern California, asserting that management provided more information about available units to white fair housing testers than they did to black fair housing testers who all posed as potential residents seeking information about homes.

Under the terms of a conciliation agreement, in which the management company admitted no wrongdoing and denied the allegations, the company agreed to pay $20,000 and participate in fair housing training.

The takeaway for professional apartment management? This case further demonstrates why we must train our leasing office staff members to treat each applicant/guest/prospect in the same manner. To be sure, every interaction with a prospect is different and, of course, our leasing agents always hope to lease our available units to legitimate home seekers. But, as we engage in our leasing operations, we want to avoid a situation in which a fair housing tester can make a claim, like here, that individuals are receiving perceived less preferential treatment because of their race (or any other protected class).

Just A Thought.