Tenant Screening Law Series – How To Stay Compliant With Federal Fair Housing Laws and Regulations…

Landlord-tenant laws and regulations govern what can and can’t be done between a landlord and tenant. The laws and regulations govern everything from keeping a property habitable to how you evict a tenant to how you screen for a tenant. The laws are meant to protect tenants and landlords. The confusing part of the laws and regulations are that Federal, State, and Municipal laws can differ…

Understanding Federal Fair Housing Laws

Most landlords in the United States are governed by the laws of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). There are exemptions but it’s best to follow them even if you don’t NEED to. It will keep you out of hot water. The FHA was put in place to make sure applicants and tenants get fair consideration and the FHA is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

There are 7 Protected Classes in the Fair Housing Act

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. National Origin/Ethnic Background
  5. Gender
  6. Familial Status
  7. Mental/Physical Disability

Claims to HUD About Unfair Practices

Each year there are many fair housing claims made against unfair application and screening processes. Most of the claims try to show that landlords are showing a preference for a particular type of applicant that puts other applicants at a disadvantage. Other claims arise when an applicant or tenant gets different terms than another tenant because of this bias toward wanting a certain type of applicant or tenant.

Does the Fair Housing Act Apply to You as a Landlord?

The FHA applies to millions and millions of properties across the United States but their are some exceptions. One notable exception to the FHA laws include buildings with fewer than 5 units when at least one of the units is occupied by the property owner. This is known as the “Mrs. Murphy” exemption and will be covered next in this series of posts.

The Right Tenant Screening Partner Makes All the Difference

Tenant screenings prevent future tenant problems, collections, and evictions. Obtaining a criminal history can uncover sexual offenses that could put other tenants at risk. Obtaining a credit history could uncover credit problems that indicate a likelihood of future collection problems. Obtaining a past evictions history will indicate a likelihood of future evictions. Make sure your tenant screening partner knows the Federal, State, and Municipal laws in your area and screens properly to keep you within those laws and out of hot water. Background Bureau has been helping and advising landlords for years!

Contact us (800-854-3990) for more information about our Tenant Screenings!

About Background Bureau

Background Bureau provides comprehensive background checks, drug tests, and tenant screenings to clients who want to reduce the amount of time, money and paperwork it takes to protect themselves from potential employees, tenants, or partners who have had troubled histories.
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