Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fair Housing: Landmark Judgment Passed for Multifamily Company

A landmark decision was handed out by the Justice Department yesterday.  This is something that everyone in the multifamily industry needs to pay attention to.  Here is the link to the article and also the full article from the Justice Department.

A couple of key excerpts are as follows: “Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that a Los Angeles apartment-building owner had agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle allegations that he discriminated against blacks, Hispanics, and families with children. It’s the largest penalty ever obtained by the department in a housing-discrimination case involving apartments.
“The magnitude of this settlement should send a message to all landlords that we will vigorously pursue violations of the Fair Housing Act,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division.”
In addition, an independent contractor will test Sterling’s compliance with fair-housing laws at his Los Angeles properties for three years and provide training to his apartment managers and leasing agents on fair-housing rules.”

This judgment should strike a chord with all of us the importance of making sure our companies are fully educated in the Fair Housing Act.  I found it quite sad after reading this article yesterday and then reflecting on a recent conference I attended.  Here is why.  One of my usual questions to everyone who came by our booth was, “What does your company do for training?”  It was unfortunate to hear from some, “Training! We don’t need training.” 

I wonder how this landlord feels about multifamily training now.  The Fair Housing Act is in place for a reason.  In order to work without fear of a violation, it’s important to be educated properly and have clear documentation on how each staff member is in compliance. 

This judgment could be the first of many to come.  Let’s be proactive and not reactive.  Being reactive could cost us dear.

Written by Jonathan Saar - The Training Factor

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