RHJ Blog

The Rental Housing Journal blog features thought provoking information and opinions on the multifamily property management and real estate investing industries. RHJ staff editorial, multifamily executives, top real estate investors, and real world industry subject matter experts share best practices, trends and news about investing in real estate, managing apartments, being a Do-It-Yourself landlord, multifamily technology, apartment marketing, Fair Housing and landlord - tenant law, flipping houses, advancing your career in property management, how to market and sell to property managers and real estate investors, new products and services for property managers, financing investment properties, where to find good tenants, how to hire great property management employees, how to choose vendors, best practices in property maintenance and much more.

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Mon
16
Apr
The Editors's picture

Social Media Tenant Screening Risks And Fair Housing

Social Media Tenant Screening Risks And Fair Housing

Have you thought about using social media tenant screening as a way to checkout potential tenants on social media or checking on current residents on social media? The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on this issue and the Fair Housing Act.

By Ellen  Clark

Social media can be a tempting tool to find more information about tenants and prospective tenants, but the information you find can leave you vulnerable to discrimination claims.

But what about looking up applicants or residents on social media? Can that be problematic from a fair housing perspective? Let’s take a look.

First some background as the topic of social media and fair housing is back in the headlines.  

Mon
09
Apr
The Editors's picture

How To Handle Suspicious Documentation For Assistance Animals

How To Handle Suspicious Documentation For Assistance Animals

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the documentation for assistance animals, service animals, and emotional support animals.

By Ellen Clark

If you suspect that documentation for assistance animals is suspicious, you may ask for more information.

Recently, you may have noticed documentation coming from websites that offer assistance animal “certifications” for a fee, but they appear to provide this documentation without firsthand knowledge of a person’s disability or what assistance or support the animal provides.

 Some housing providers don’t raise questions about suspicious documentation because they fear being accused of discrimination.

 It is important to know that it is ok to question suspicious documentation and ask for more information. 

Tue
03
Apr
The Editors's picture

Can Tenants Have Multiple Assistance Animals?

Can A Resident Have Assistance Animals - more than one?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week continues the focus on the confusing issue of service animals, assistance animals and emotional support animals.

By Ellen Clark

By now you’ve probably figured out that complying with assistance animal requests is confusing and difficult.

One of the situations that many people find particularly confusing is when there are multiple animals involved and an apartment complex that may have a one-pet rule.

  • Can residents have more than one assistance animal?
  • Can residents have pets and assistance animals?

 Can a resident have more than one assistance animal?

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) do not limit the number of assistance animals one person can have.

Mon
26
Mar
The Editors's picture

Confused Over Service, Assistance And Emotional Support Animals?

Confused Over Service, Assistance And Emotional Support Animals?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the confusing issue and definitions of service animal, assistance and emotional support animals.

By Ellen Clark

You probably hear the terms service animal, assistance animal, and emotional support animal a lot. But do you really know what these terms mean? If not, you are not alone!

 There are three laws that relate to rental housing and service and assistance animals:

Tue
20
Mar
The Editors's picture

How Your Terms, Conditions Or Privileges Could Mean Discrimination

How Your Terms, Conditions Or Privileges Could Mean Discrimination

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of how your terms, conditions or privileges you provide prospective tenants and existing tenants could be discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

By Ellen Clark

You must treat all prospects and tenants in a consistent way in how you use terms, conditions or privileges to avoid discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for buying or renting housing is a little less direct than other illegal practices, such as an outright refusal to rent or sell to an individual.

But it is just as illegal.

Requiring higher security deposits from families with children and demanding higher application fees from minorities are examples of discrimination in terms, conditions, or privileges. These practices violate fair housing laws.

Tue
13
Mar
The Editors's picture

How A No Pet Policy Can Be Discriminatory

How A No Pet Policy Can Be Discriminatory

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of how a no pet policy can be discriminatory when it involves potential tenants with disabilities.

By Ellen Clark

Landlord and property managers must make reasonable accommodations to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

An accommodation is a change in any rule, policy, procedure, or service if the changes are needed for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to occupy and enjoy full use of their housing.

One of the most common accommodation requests people with disabilities make is to have an animal that would otherwise be restricted by a community’s rules.

Tue
06
Mar
The Editors's picture

Fair Housing Discrimination Against Someone You’ve Never Talked To?

Fair Housing Discrimination Against Someone You’ve Never Talked To?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of potential fair housing discrimination against someone you have never talked to.

By Ellen Clark

When you think about upholding Fair Housing Act laws, you probably think about treating people fairly and equally when they come in for a tour, or as you interact with them as potential tenants.

But did you ever think if you fail to answer an email, you end up on the wrong side of a fair housing claim without ever interacting with a person?

Fair housing laws protect people from discrimination throughout all stages of your interactions, not just after they become your tenant or residents of your apartment community. 

Mon
26
Feb
The Editors's picture

5 Questions House Flippers Must Ask A Potential Real Estate Agent

5 Questions House Flippers Must Ask A Potential Real Estate Agent

Sponsored Blog

While there are many ways to purchase a potential flip property, Fixters almost always recommends that beginning flippers work with a real estate agent. It is typically the fastest way to get your hands on a good property and something you can act on now.

With a real estate agent, you can learn from their expertise and work with someone who is familiar with your desired property location and market. Additionally, you add to your house flipping business team and develop a relationship that can bring big rewards in the future.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend and Colorado-based real estate agent, Jennifer Morrissette with HomeSmart Realty Group. I got her insight on the top questions house flippers need to ask a real estate agent BEFORE working with them."

Tue
20
Feb
The Editors's picture

Two Portland Landlords Resign From Rental Services Commission

Two Portland Landlords Resign From Rental Services Commission

Two Portland landlords have resigned from the Rental Services Commission in protest after Mayor Ted Wheeler flip-flopped on his position about small landlords and Portland’s relocation ordinance, according to reports.

Wheeler now wants to remove the current exemption for small landlords who own only one property. The relocation ordinance requires landlords to pay moving expenses if they evict a tenant for no-cause or increase rent more than 10 percent.

Mon
12
Feb
The Editors's picture

Property Management Cyberattack Risks Overlooked, Underestimated

Property Management Cyberattack Risks Overlooked, Underestimated

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of property management cyberattack which is often overlooked and underestimated.

By Ellen Clark

Due to lack of federal oversight and regulation, property management companies’ cybersecurity programs may be relatively less developed and less sophisticated than in other industries.

This could make them a more attractive target for cybercriminals looking for an easy way to steal personal data.

We hear a lot in the news about data being exposed or stolen by cyberattacks in healthcare, banking and retail industries. But we tend to hear less about such attacks in the property management industry, even though they have happened before and will likely happen again.

 As a result, the risk of cyberattacks in the property management industry may be overlooked and underestimated.

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