Help Eliminate Discrimination in a Growing Rental Market Through Third Party Tenant Screening, Says TenantScreeningUSA.com

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The apartment rental market is booming as Americans continue to choose renting over buying. With so much demand and limited supply landlords and property owners can be pickier than ever. However, with an opportunity to be selective with renters, the opportunity to discriminate, either consciously or sub-consciously, against those potential renters is present as well.

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With an opportunity to be selective with renters, the opportunity to discriminate, either consciously or sub-consciously, against those potential renters is present as well.

A recent article at theStreet.com asks the question: Is the Apartment Rental Market Overheating?

The still faltering housing recovery, tight credit, lackluster employment growth and overall weak consumer confidence has kept demand for apartments high, despite historic housing affordability.

That, plus a shortage of supply, means rents are going higher, increasing at their fastest pace since the fall of 2007, according to Reis Inc., which expects rent growth to accelerate even more as vacancies tighten.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11607233/1/is-the-apartment-rental-market-overheating.html

Low supply and high demand afford landlords the opportunity to be choosey with perspective tenants. The ability to pick the very best tenant is extremely important to landlords and property managers as good tenants can become a solid fiscal investment, add value to a property, and help create cohesive environments within a rental community. Long term rentals provide the financial stability property owners desire. A rental property is generally an investment opportunity and without return on that investment a rental property can become a money pit.

But there are challenges in the rental market, specifically for landlords and property managers. Making the right decision on a candidate can often be a tricky thing. And the opportunity to make the wrong decision or making decisions the wrong way is high.

On September 13, 2012, the Concord Monitor reported a real estate discriminated against families with children and brought about a US Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation.

Federal housing authorities have charged a Concord real estate agent and his company with discriminating against families with children who wanted to rent a South Main Street apartment.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/354529/hud-real-estate-firm-discriminated?SESS44e5eabb938d9904a43cb62a2a29e58c=google&page=full

Based on the HUD charges the real estate company only showed a specific apartment to people without children. When a potential candidate inquired as to why this apartment was not shown to her, or offered to her, she received the following comment, "...informed her that the property was not suitable for a family with children and that he did not have to rent to her..."

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/354529/hud-real-estate-firm-discriminated?SESS44e5eabb938d9904a43cb62a2a29e58c=google&page=full

The article explains that other families received similar treatment. The result could be a significant fine from HUD against the real estate company.

HUD has regulatory responsibilities similar to those of the EEOC. While the EEOC is primarily concerned with commerce and the business community, their responsibilities are to the workers much like the HUD responsibilities to home owners and renters.

From the HUD Website:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, that improve and develop the Nation's communities, and enforce fair housing laws. HUD's business is helping create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans, and it has given America's communities a strong national voice at the Cabinet level. HUD plays a major role in supporting homeownership by underwriting homeownership for lower- and moderate-income families through its mortgage insurance programs.

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/qaintro    

Discrimination toward renters can exist in areas other than those directed by landlords and property managers. Home Owners Associations can also discriminate, either inadvertently or predatorily.

In Tampa Bay, Florida another family, this time a large family of eight, was discriminated against by their communities Home Owners Association (HOA).

On TampaBayOnline.com a reprinted Tampa Tribune (September 6, 2012) article reports that a family of eight had no idea that a rule existed limiting the occupancy within their community to six. When the HOA discovered her family size she received a letter stating she and her family had 30 days to get into compliance or be evicted. http://www2.tbo.com/news/news/2012/sep/06/memeto1-hud-large-family-of-renters-discriminated--ar-484468/

The renter filed a claim of discrimination with HUD. Recently, six years later, HUD "charged the homeowner's association and its management company, Vanguard Management Group Inc., with discriminating against large families." http://www2.tbo.com/news/news/2012/sep/06/memeto1-hud-large-family-of-renters-discriminated--ar-484468/

In short discrimination against renters exists and will continue to exist. The level of discrimination is currently heightened due to the extreme demand for rental properties. And while discrimination against families is highlighted herein, discrimination continues to occur along race, color, national origin, religion, sex, and handicap lines.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com recommends utilizing a third-party tenant screening company to avoid potential discrimination.

Almeida states:
Working with a third-party unbiased tenant screening company such as TenantScreeningUSA.com helps protect landlords, property managers and leasing agents from making bad and often illegal leasing decisions. With the rules and regulations that govern tenant screening changing on a regular basis, a third party can keep up with these changes whereas a landlord or property manager may not. Running a property is a full-time job and keeping up with HUD guidelines shouldn't be. Third party professional tenant screening companies can give landlords and property managers the tools and platform they need to remain compliant.

Property managers and landlords need to protect themselves and stay within the guidelines of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Discrimination can be tempting and may occur subconsciously, but one complaint can bring a potential investigation. In order to stay compliant with HUD regulations as well as state and local regulations and laws, property managers and landlords should rely on third-party tenant screening companies. TenantScreeningUSA.com has been providing landlords and property managers the information required to make a safe, compliant, and informed decision in regards to whom they rent their property. TenantScreeningUSA.com has the knowledge and experience to understand the unique requirements of any property and provides a platform that helps avoid discrimination.

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