FHA Laws: Understanding what is Disparate Impact and Disparate Treatment.

What is Disparate Impact and Disparate Treatment?

In 1968, The Fair Housing Act also known as FHA was passed. This Federal law gives protection against discrimination based on color, race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. With the ever-changing laws here is a quick summary of the latest changes that came about in the last couple of years.

As a landlord, you must be informed with the latest law changes and make sure you abide by them.

Disclaimer: This is for informational use only. Miami property Management LLC do not make any guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this article. This is a resource not a substitute for legal advice or service. You should not act upon this information without professional legal counsel.

Disparate Impact/Treatment

“Disparate treatment” is a type of unlawful discrimination against a protected class (color, race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability) of people. A serious example of disparate treatment would be saying “NO (protected class) Need Apply”. Now that you understand what disparate impact means now we can discuss “Disparate Impact”.

“Disparate impact” is not as direct as disparate treatment it is an unintended adverse impact on a protected class that may cause liability. A landlord or property manager may follow the laws and procedures to rent a unit but somewhere in the application or marketing material there may be a statement that can unfairly limit a tenant’s choices when it comes to housing.

To help clarify this term here are a couple of policy fixes that could prevent disparate impact discrimination:

  1. During the screening process or in the application, do not make it obligatory that the applicant must work full time in order to qualify. This can disqualify a person that may have a disability and are receiving financial assistance.
  2. Rent based on the number of occupants. This is very common with student rentals, this type of policy can adversely impact large families with children, making rents unaffordable.
  3. Placing occupancy limits can make it hard for large families with children to qualify or afford a rental.

As a property manager in Miami applicants tend not to speak English or have limited English proficiency which is also known as LEP. Language discrimination may also result in a race or national origin discrimination which are protected classes. An example of disparate impact based on language discrimination is refusing time to allow the applicant to translate a document.

Note: Review all your documents, marketing material, applications, policies, and procedures; and make sure you don’t have any nondiscriminatory language anywhere. It advised that a legal professional who is familiar with the laws in your local area review your documents to avoid any legal liability.

Contact your local fair housing office or your attorney if you have specific questions concerning disparate impact discrimination.

Laws are forever changing and at times are very difficult to keep updated. Hire Miami Property Management LLC as your property manager and let us worry about it. We comply with Fair housing and make sure your property is in compliance with federal laws while you make money collecting rent.

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