5 Ways to Reduce Fair Housing Liability
Tip: Steering has long been associated with directing clients away from certain neighborhoods. But you also could step over the line by trying too hard to help clients find the ideal neighborhood. For more on the topic, watch, "Trying Too Hard to Help: Fair Housing and Unintentional Discrimination."
Follow these guidelines to make sure you keep the right records to protect yourself against potential Fair Housing violations.
One of your best defenses against charges of fair housing violations: Ensure that your company provides equal service standards and that your salespeople keep careful records that demonstrate that those standards were implemented equally to all prospects. Here are some more ways you can protect yourself and your company:
- Develop a standardized list of questions salespeople can use to qualify all prospective buyers and sellers. Have salespeople write down responses to the standardized questions and keep the written responses on file.
- Establish formulas salespeople can use to determine the price range of houses that a prospective buyer can afford so that the salesperson’s judgments don’t seem based on discriminatory criteria.
- Keep a record of every property shown to buyers so you can demonstrate you followed the criteria established in the qualification process.
- Log inquiry calls made to the company and train receptionists in a standardized response to questions about the company’s services. Remember that a prospect doesn’t have to become a client to sue for discrimination.
- Record how the salesperson chose the houses that were shown and what criteria were used to eliminate others.
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