What Corporate Rental Landlords Need to Know About the Fair Housing Act

Corporate Landlord

If you are about to invest in corporate rentals and executive rentals, or you already own them and wish to be in full agreement with federal laws, you need to be aware of the Fair Housing Act. It is legislation dating back to 1968 and it “prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status”. It applies to corporate rentals as much as it does to standard housing options, and that means you have to pay attention to it when listing and renting your executive rentals, too.

How would you have (inadvertently) violated the FHA in your corporate rentals or executive rentals? As one real estate report explains, “Fair Housing Act violations can occur in all phases of buying and renting, including in advertising, while you search, throughout the application process, in financing or credit checks, and during eviction proceedings.”

Corporate Landlord

As someone who owns corporate rentals, you can violate it by suggesting a potential client look at a different property in a different location based on your feelings about their race, sex (and/or sexual orientation), disabilities, and so on. You might refuse to rent to someone or ask for a higher deposit based on some prejudices or inaccurate beliefs you hold. You might charge someone a higher rate based on their gender or their race.

There are many ways you might be in violation of it, and so it pays to know one key rule to help you avoid crossing the line and breaking the law when renting out your executive rentals: You must apply the same standards and extend the same terms to everyone who applies to rent a property.

Book Furnished Rental from CHBO

In other words, if someone is disabled and wishes to rent the property, you need to make reasonable accommodations for that tenant. If someone is a different ethnicity than another applicant, you cannot give the second applicant preference over the other. Everyone must be given the same treatment.

Keep in mind that you might violate the FHA in advertising, screening, and many other ways. It is always in your best interest to be fully versed in the ways in which the FHA overlaps with your rental business. A good way to protect yourself is to be an exquisite record keeper, creating a fail-proof system that tracks everything from first contacts and applications to meetings and all the rest. This is one of the best ways to be sure you do not fail to meet the FHA standards and to prove nothing prejudicial or unfair was done during your interactions with renters or potential corporate or executive renters.

Are There Standards for Furnished Rental Property Exteriors?

standards for furnished rental properties

A recent online discussion between owners of furnished rentals sheds interesting light on a lesser discussed matter – property exteriors. After receiving poor customer feedback due to the appearance of a back patio, one owner of short term housing wanted to know what fellow owners thought. The responses were intriguing and enlightening. So, if you are someone who offers furnished rentals, here are a few tips to consider:

  • All outdoor areas in short term housing should be well-kept without any dead plants or overgrowth, but formal gardens are not essential. Do put empty pots and gardening tools away for both esthetics and safety (no one should be at risk for stepping on a rake!)
  • As to outdoor areas, it is entirely up to the owner whether to list and/or advertise outdoor spaces. As an example, if there is an open patio, it can be listed as available for use by guests, but any caveats (i.e. furnishings may be put away seasonally or as weather demands, “gardens are being installed”, and so on)
  • Included any explanations about outdoor spaces in the short term housing listing and the handbook available to guests (i.e. “You are free to use the backyard or patio. Folding chairs are available for your use” or “In spring and summer, leaves and debris may litter the patio, we do our best to keep it clear, but weather conditions may make that difficult. We appreciate your understanding”)

Tired of Daily and Weekly Corporate Apartment Rentals?

corporate apartment rental

It does not matter if you are using one of the daily or weekly property rental sites, or the whole array – this short term rental model may not be in your best interests. As one report about Airbnb recently noted, it is “cruising in uncharted territories” and raises issues with everything from insurance to local laws about hotels and other, similar accommodations. Some of the most popular cities are now beginning to crack down on property owners using such pathways to monetize their furnished housing, and that alone might make you consider the CHBO model instead.