Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

I am one of those people who will only love my own children. (Fingers crossed I even have an affinity for them.) I certainly think kids are cute, and I wish I were great with those little rugrats, but I just don’t seem to have the patience for them. Truth be told, I’d rather be talking to adults.

This, along with my apathy (to put it kindly) for dogs, makes me a terrible, terrible person—so no need to tell me that. But it also makes me a person who sympathizes with residents who complain about “children running wild in the flower beds.” I have a few such hooligans in my own community. I get it. 

But as Webinar moderator Anne Sadovsky, CAPS, CAM, explained during August 7th’s Webinar Wednesday, “What’s New and What’s Hot in Fair Housing,” it is a fair housing violation to put up a sign that specifically forbids children from running amuck. You can put up a sign that says no one can run in the flower beds, but don’t separate out the children, Sadovsky says.

Similarly, if an elderly resident (or a 26-year-old writer devoid of maternal instincts) is unhappy with the noisy children living above her, you can’t force the people with children to move. Apartment operators also can’t disclose whether or not children live in a particular building, or how many children live in the community—even if a prospective family wants their children to have neighbors of the same age.

“You can’t disclose how many people of a particular religion live at your community, for example, and the same holds true for children,” Sadovsky says. “I know it’s awkward to tell someone that you can’t disclose this information, but it’s the law.”

Sadovsky says implementing a curfew for children is a “sticky” situation, and recommends speaking with your local housing authority for further guidance.

Other fair housing items of note:

1. There is no reason to put anyone’s race on an application slip.

2. In a state where Spanish is a prevalent language, post Spanish signs on the wall, or a sign indicating that you have documents available in Spanish, but don’t pick certain people who appear to speak the language and tell them about these translated documents.

Take it from someone who thought a friend’s Italian girlfriend was Asian—there’s no room for guessing.

3. If your state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, but two men come in and say they are legally married in another state and should therefore only pay one application fee, what do you do? Sadovsky suggests eliminating this problem altogether buy requiring that everyone 18 years of age and older pay an application fee, regardless of whether or not they are married.

4. Never call a service animal a pet. According to HUD, the most politically correct term is an assistance animal. 

An assistance dog that does a little less licking, and a little more labor. Now that’s a canine I can get behind.

Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays (hosted by NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders), and register for August 21st’s “How to Make Your Residents Work For You—Resident Referral Ideas That Work” today.