RENT Magazine Q4 '21

FAIR HOUSING TRAINING FOR MAINTENANCE – THE BOTTOM LINE Each of these situations can be defended and is probably not going to be found to be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. However, they could have been handled better, possibly avoiding the resulting fair housing case. Fair housing training for maintenance staff should also cover the importance of fair, equal, and professional treatment by employees. Although the maintenance employees don’t need the detailed information concerning the fair housing issues involved with processing applications and making selection decisions, they do need to understand how their actions can result in a fair housing problem. The bottom line… fair housing training for maintenance professionals is paramount.

An employee doesn’t like a particular resident and so avoids doing work in her apartment. Later the resident files a fair housing complaint against the apartment community. Among the allegations she makes in the complaint is that her maintenance requests are often responded to later than other people’s because of her race. In this instance, fair housing training for maintenance personnel would entail much more than just knowing that race is a protected class. SEXUAL HARASSMENT A maintenance employee who is “too friendly” offends a female resident. He appears to go out of his way to be around her building in the afternoons. He also makes comments about her appearance and suggests that they go out for a drink sometime. Although the maintenance employee’s actions may not be illegal, they are not good business. The resident could add these allegations of sexual harassment to complicate a fair housing complaint about other issues. The burden of proof is irrelevant. The allegation takes away time and resources from your team. Fair housing training for maintenance professionals should absolutely cover scenarios that include potential sexual harassment allegations.

KATHELENE WILLIAMS President The Fair Housing Institute Click here to watch Fair Housing Educational Videos

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