Understanding Reasonable Accommodations Under Fair Housing

property management in Fort Worth, TX

Property managers in Fort Worth, TX who don’t understand Fair Housing laws run the risk of sooner than later violating the law, having to pay fines, or going to court. People with disabilities are covered under Fair Housing laws outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Here are a few things you should know when leasing to a someone with a disability and understand what Reasonable Accommodations can mean for your property management in Fort Worth, TX.

Who Qualifies as a Person with a Disability?

A person is considered disabled when he or she has a significant mental or physical condition that substantially limits that person’s ability to participate in major life activities that are important to daily life. You may or may not immediately recognize the disability.  The disability may be obvious such as someone who is blind or deaf. But some disabilities are more hidden like heart disease or epilepsy. Refusing to lease to a disabled person because of their disability or refusing reasonable accommodations is considered discrimination under the law.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A resident in your rental unit can request you make a change in a policy to accommodate their specific need. This is a reasonable accommodation under fair housing rules. The accommodation should not put undue hardship on the landlord. Property management in Fort Worth, TX needs to be careful, however, about offering accommodations before they are requested. Even if you think an offer for accommodations is a sign of being a caring property manager, a tenant may feel your premature offer is a sign of discrimination. Policy changes can be anything from parking rules and rent collecting procedures to pet policies when a service animal is involved.

How can Professional Property Managers in Fort Worth, TX Help You?

Some fair housing situations are straightforward. But the laws and regulations also have clauses or very particular details that can cause landlords to break the law unknowingly.  Legal mistakes made by property managers in Fort Worth, TX can mean hefty penalties and fines. So to make sure your property investing is stress-free, partner with Specialized Specialized Property Management and avoid the mistakes.

Our professional experience combines caring management that knows the laws and helps you avoid costly managing mistakes. We can help you with reasonable accommodations for tenants, prepare lease agreements, and manage your property with efficiency and integrity. Our experienced team is ready to go to work for you.

Visit (www.specializedrpm.com) and learn more about our full range of services for all your needs with property management in Fort Worth, TX.

Fair Housing Rules: Are You In Compliance?

Arlington rental property management

As a Texas landlord, you can look at a prospective tenant’s credit history or rental history and decide if you want to accept or reject the application. Most people understand that you can’t deny an applicant housing simply because you didn’t like the way they look. Most of us want to be treated fairly and not judged wrongly. Specialized Specialized Property Management understands Fair Housing laws and can help you stay in compliance with this law even in areas you might not think you can’t violate it.

  • Advertising

Be careful not to use leading descriptions in an advertisement for your unit. Ads can sound like you are being exclusive in your renting preferences. Say that your rental is perfect for an older tenant may sound like you are discriminating against families. Keep your advertising about the home and not suggestive of an idea of the preferred tenant for the unit.

  • Application and Screening

Rental applications are allowed to ask about employment, how many people will live in the property, and even why you are moving. An Arlington property management company can screen for criminal backgrounds, credit problems, and sex offender registrations. You can’t screen tenants for race or birthplace preferences. Applications need to be careful not to ask in-depth questions about disabilities.

  • Service Animals

A landlord has a no pet policy for his rental unit. A potential tenant asks if there are any exceptions to the pet rule. The landlord replies, no. Before this turns into a discrimination lawsuit, the landlord needs to stop and ask if the animal in question is a service animal. Even if the applicant didn’t specify it was a service animal, this situation could be a problem. Service animals are not classified as pets and a disabled person can’t be denied housing because of a service animal.

The Fair Housing Act has been in place since 1968 and is a law Arlington rental property management companies should long be aware of. Property owners need to be prepared to understand and comply with the law as well. For information about Fair Housing regulations in Texas visit http://www.twc.state.tx.us/partners/housing-discrimination.

Specialized Specialized Property Management offers an in-house legal team with experience to keep investors compliant to all laws and codes dealing with investment property. Let our leading Arlington rental property management company go to work for you.

Find us at (www.specializedrpm.com) to learn more about our comprehensive list of services.

DFW’S Largest PM Reminds Landlords to Review Tenant Rights

Fort Worth rental property management

Do you understand Tenant Rights and how it can apply to LGBT Communities

Specialized Specialized Property Management encourages landlords to review Texas state regulations and statutes to better understand tenant rights and to ensure they manage their rental units ethically. Fair and ethical housing practices have been a hot topic with concerns about immigration and terrorist threats. Now landlords need to also consider tenant rights in regards to the LGBT community.

Tenants have rights to basic housing needs being met by landlords. “Knowing the laws helps you avoid breaking the laws, especially in Fort Worth property management,” advises Stephanie Mendoza, Director of Operations at Specialized Specialized Property Management. Breaking rental laws means fines and penalties for landlords.

Landlords do have resources to go to for clarification and guidelines to understand what specific rights tenants have.

Texas Attorney General Office

https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/tenant-rights

According to the Texas state attorney general’s office, a tenant has a right to live in a safe and habitable dwelling. Heat, water, electricity, locks on windows and doors are required and should be in working order in a tenant’s rented residence. Tenants have a right to:

Peace and Quiet

Health and Safety

Security

Fair Housing Rules

http://www.twc.state.tx.us/partners/housing-discrimination

Property managers in Fort Worth, TX are also required to understand and follow Fair Housing rules to avoid discriminatory management practices. “We live in a changing world, and landlords need to stay current on any Fair Housing rule changes,” said Mendoza. “Texas currently doesn’t have specific laws in regard to fair housing and the LGBT community, but that could always change.” Current regulations certainly apply to all groups of people and should be carefully followed.

About Specialized Specialized Property Management

Specialized Specialized Property Management is the leading Fort Worth rental property management company offering personalized management services to thousands of satisfied clients. With over 20 years of local expertise, they can provide the solutions for your management needs. For more information, visit (www.specializedrpm.com)

LGBT Discrimination: Understanding the Current Rules

Arlington property managers

The Fair Housing Act was established in 1968 and has had a couple of amendments along the way to accommodate needed changes. Currently, fair housing laws protect a specific list of citizens and was established to ensure that everyone has the right to sell, rent, or buy adequate housing without discrimination.The law states that a person cannot be denied housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. The Federal Fair Housing Act started with four protected classes and now contains seven. As our community continues to wrestle with the law and to create new policies, we might expect to see changes in the future. So, even though changes come slowly, there are possible additional changes in the future. Currently, the law does not specifically include sexual orientation or gender identity.

What does this mean for Arlington property managers?

Some states have adopted state fair housing laws that include LGBT citizens. Texas hasn’t made these specific changes. But, it is still very important when leasing a property to make sure you are not crossing lines to discriminating behavior. Some landlords make discrimination mistakes with theses types of situations:

    • Advertising— An example would be if you advertise that a specific unit would be perfect for a certain type of person. Always be aware of how your advertising is worded.
    • Availability— It is unlawful to be dishonest about the availability of a rental unit. You can’t tell someone a unit isn’t available anymore when it really is.
    • Application— Tenant applications need to avoid questions that are seen as discriminating.
    • Screening— It is important to screen lease applications, but you need to know what you can legally screen your applicants for. Credit and rental history are acceptable. Screening for gender or sexual orientation is not appropriate.

What Makes Good Arlington Property Management Practices?

Specialized Specialized Property Management is the leading property management company that knows and understands the laws. With our knowledgeable in-house legal team, advertising, screening, and leasing processes are professionally and fairly conducted. We carefully follow all fair housing requirements so investors avoid lawsuits and fines.

Our world is always evolving. And the laws change with that evolution. As an Arlington property management company, we proactively keep you informed of any changes so that your investment property is compliant with federal and local laws and regulations. For more information about Fair Housing and Texas housing laws, come to the leaders in Arlington property management. Find us at (www.specializedrpm.com)

Texas Economy and Millennials Looking for Houses

Fort Worth rental property management

Fort Worth rental property management gets ready for the summer season

Texas is a popular place to be in 2016. People want to relocate to and build a business in the Lone Star state. Millennials who have postponed home-ownership won’t find the market an easier playing field this year. Fort Worth rental property management companies can see a few leases end and tenants become homeowners, but renting is still the option of choice for many professionals with a family.

Texas Economy

Even with oil crude prices down and job cuts in the energy market, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation. And the Dallas area can boast being where more that a third of the houses in the state were sold during this year’s first quarter. The state continues to have annual employment growth and the unemployment rate remains below the national average. So even though the housing market growth is expected to slow down this summer, it is still strong.

Where are the Houses?

The demand for affordable housing in Texas is high this season. But the supply of homes on the market is low. A 25 increase in listings last month isn’t enough to keep up with housing demands. High demand means buyers are looking at record prices for homes. Housing prices are predicted to level out, though, which could give hope to potential buyers. Competition is strong and millennials looking to buy their first home can expect potential bidding wars and homes going for higher than their listed price.

What does this Mean for Fort Worth Rental Property Management?

Record home prices and low inventory mean that after the hot summer real estate season, some home buyers won’t have found the home purchase they were looking for. Millennials were predicted to be big home buyers in 2016. But instead of being a stampeding wave on the housing market, they will more likely slowly trickle into the market. Investment property owners can take advantage of the need for affordable housing and get their rental homes up to code and rent ready for the coming real estate season.

Specialized Specialized Property Management is the leading property management company that can help you get your rental ready for leasing. We offer professional remodel services, lease preparation, and proactive advertising so you quickly see success with your investment. With millennials take their time with buying a home, finding a comfortable home to rent is their current goal. Find out what Specialized Specialized Property Management can do for you at (www.specializedrpm.com)