government relations help desk

Beware: Fair Housing Crackdown!

In Fair Housing Rules, Links, Rules&Regs on October 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

The wrong words could cost you a fortune, and more folks are watching closer than ever before. Your competitors may be looking to turn you in. Worse yet, cash-strapped local agencies are scouring your Housing Ads for something to complain about. Formal complaints, when enforced and ruled against you bring fines in the $1,000s per word. Your settlement becomes their new funding stream.

Feedback I’m getting around the country: Bounty hunters are hungry. First step, be aware of and avoid the wrong words. Check out this word and phrase list. It’s intended as a guideline to assist in complying with state and federal fair housing laws. It is not intended as a complete list of every word or phrase that could violate any local, state, or federal statutes…new words get added by state agencies, court rulings, etc. But this is a really good reference.

If you don’t have a copy on file, here’s HUD’s Fair Housing Advertising Guidelines. If you already have this, it’s worth reading again. Then check out HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) Main Page, which has updates and timely resources — and also links to state-specific information.

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