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Premier Management Workshop

Fair housing Best Practices for Managers and Maintenance Personnel

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Premier Management LLC
specializes in the management of affordable housing apartment complexes, for both family and elderly households. Affordable housing represent 95% of our business ventures. With a portfolio that includes only sites within the State of Ohio we are able to reach any apartment complex within hours.

In cooperation with Richland County Fair Housing COHHIO is providing 1.75 hour training for over 180 employees of Premier Management LLC.


Quick review of the basics

what are the laws?
protected classes
prohibited activities
rule of thumb: be consistent in every aspect of your rental housing business
question and discussion

Be consistent...except when someone says "because of my disability"

Reasonable Accommodation and Reasonable Modification
Engaging in the interactive process
Using service providers to assist in framing ra/rm requests
Funding sources for tenants to pay for modifications
Special rules for Federally assisted properties (Section 504)
who's covered
federal recipient pays if:
question and discussion

Flash points in your rental housing practice
Offer to help or accommodate
Selective rule enforcement
Wait list manipulation
Goofy selection criteria
informal advertising
support v. service animals
live in attendants
"don't bother to apply"
fail to respond to RA/RM
question and discussion

  What happened
COHHIO's Spencer Wells, assisted by Emily Van Buren, presented the workshop for 167 rental agents and maintence directors employed by Premier Management LLC.

Questions and Discussion

1.     If a management company gives preference to military status, is that in violation of FH?

This particular issue has never been challenged, but preferences are always problemmatic if they take limited resources away from a protected class.  Exception:  some housing is restricted for 'special need' communities by the Federal funding source.  An example is housing set aside for persons with disabilities or seniors.  Remember the rule of .thumb: be consistent

2.     Regarding an RA, what about our blind tenant who has trouble cleaning up after his service dog, and then the odor bothers other tenants?

Maybe need to renegotiate the reasonable accommodation (RA) so that the problem can be solved.  In a similar case in Lancaster, property manager found someone at the local independent living center to work out a 'doggie care' service for the person with the disabilty.  Answer: find supportive services for the person with the disabilty.

3.     Is it against the law to ask a deaf tenant if they need a special smoke detector?

It is a bad practice to anticipate that a disabled person might need an accommodation.  it's demeaning!  Furthermore it's treating someone differently because of a disability--dangerous ground.  If you're aware of a problem with fire safety, offer strobe light smoke detectors to everyone in the complex.  BE CONSISTENT.

4.     Can the PM refuse a tenant’s RA if the city has a restriction on a breed of animal, and the service/support animal is a member of that breed?

Maybe.  Reasonable accommodations must be "reasonable" so Property Manager and tenant will need to work with local officials to come up with a solution.  Maybe the local jurisdiction must make a reasonable accommodation of their laws to permit an otherwise prohibited animal.  (remember: almost all jurisdictions are covered by Section 504).  In practice there's usually a simple solution.

5.     What exactly does reasonable entry mean?

reasonable notice (reasonable is presumed to be 24 hours) except in case of emergency

enter at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner and

avoid repeated demands for entry that have the effect of harassment. 

In general:  avoid knock and key-give tenants time to respond.  For more info see here.

6.  Can a landlord refuse a RA/RM within the law?
NO!  If you cannot make the RA or RM that is requested you must offer an alternative solution.  This is called the interactive process.  There's a good overview of the process at the bottom of this page.  Read and share.

Funding is provided under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 Notes & Links

Spencer Wells,
Oct 29, 2012, 7:47 AM
Spencer Wells,
Oct 29, 2012, 7:47 AM