As an Oregon landlord, understanding the Fair Housing Act is critical when operating an ethical and successful rental business.
The FHA protects renters and buyers from discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, physical or mental disability – meaning it's illegal in Oregon to refuse or discriminate against potential tenants because of these protected characteristics.
Furthermore, landlords are also responsible for educating themselves on other requirements, such as accessibility regulations that aim to improve equal opportunities between tenants within your properties. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of Oregon's fair housing laws so landlords can stay up-to-date with their responsibilities under the law.
What Is the Fair Housing Act, And What Does It Cover in Oregon Specifically?
The FHA is a law that was passed in 1968 as part of the Civil Rights Act. It prohibits discrimination in housing and real estate transactions based on race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
The act applies to all residential property sale or rental aspects, including advertising, zoning, mortgage lending, appraisals, homeowner's insurance, and more. It allows people from different backgrounds to live in any neighborhood they choose without fear of discrimination or exclusion.
The Fair Housing law requires all landlords in Oregon to provide equal access to housing opportunities and prohibits discrimination. Additionally, Oregon has expanded its local fair housing laws to protect beyond what is required by federal law. Under Oregon state law, it is illegal to discriminate against a person based on marital status and sexual orientation.
All and all, it was put in place to ensure fair housing for all Oregon residents.
Additionally, landlords must make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities to provide equal access to housing. Furthermore, Oregon has adopted the practice of "source of income protection," which means that a landlord cannot reject an applicant based solely on their source of income (e.g., disability benefits, Social Security, rental assistance).
What Does the Fair Housing Act Prohibit in Oregon?
The FHA, as enacted in Oregon, prohibits discrimination in housing based on certain protected classes. The protected classes under the FHA in Oregon are:
The Fair Housing law prohibits discrimination based on race regarding real estate transactions. This includes making decisions such as denying a person the ability to rent or buy housing, setting different terms and conditions for members of other races, evicting a tenant based on their race, or making statements that indicate racial preferences. It is illegal for anyone to interfere or deny a person access to housing based on their race in Oregon as they are a protected class.
The FHA also prohibits landlords from refusing to rent an apartment or house to someone due to their religious beliefs. Making statements that indicate a preference for certain religions over others and setting different terms and conditions for members of different faiths is strictly prohibited as they are a protected class.
The FHA in Oregon does not allow the landlord to deny someone housing because of their gender, either explicitly or implicitly. This includes denying housing and suggesting a particular unit is safer for one gender or dangerous for another.
Landlords cannot deny someone housing just because they have children or are expecting a child. Landlords must also make reasonable accommodations to accommodate the needs of families with young children.
It is strictly prohibited to deny housing to families with kids over a couple, change the terms of a lease agreement for a family with children, set higher rents or security deposits for those with children, and exclude families from specific amenities or floor plans.
Landlords must not deny housing or make it difficult for someone with a disability to access the residence, such as not providing accessible parking or refusing to install needed items like grab bars in the bathroom. Landlords must also make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, such as allowing an assistance animal, installing ramps, or providing accessible parking spaces as they are a protected class. This also includes those suffering from a mental disability as well.
Marital status is also protected under the Fair Housing law. Landlords may not deny housing to unmarried couples who live together, nor can landlords impose additional fees or rents on unmarried couples.
Tips for Landlords to Provide Fair Housing
Here are some tips for landlords to provide fair housing:
Respect the Rights
Respect all tenants' civil rights, regardless of race, gender, religion, or national origin. Make sure to treat all tenants equally and fairly. This includes providing the same amenities and services to everyone, such as parking spaces and access to maintenance services.
Use Non-Discriminatory Language While Advertising
Use language that is not discriminatory while advertising your rental property. Avoid language such as "no children," "suitable for single individuals," or phrases that limit potential renters based on their protected characteristics.
Provide All the Required Facilities
Be mindful of any special amenities that may be necessary for particular renters. Depending on their disability, some tenants may need specific services or facilities like wheelchair ramps or special paths. Make sure these services are available and accessible to all tenants.
Set Clear Rules
Have a clear and transparent policy that outlines what is expected of the landlord and the tenant. This should include rules regarding noise levels, pet policies, smoking bans, etc. So that everyone understands what is acceptable behavior while living on the property.
Keep Yourself Updated
Be aware of your state's laws regarding fair housing. Make sure to comply with all local and state laws regarding tenant rights. This includes any ordinances or regulations regarding discrimination and standards for landlord/tenant relationships.
Listen Carefully to Their Concerns
Make sure to listen carefully to any issues or complaints and take appropriate action if needed. Also, if you have any questions or concerns, it's essential to be open and honest with your tenant.
It's essential to respect tenants' rights and provide the necessary services to all tenants. If you have further questions regarding the Fair Housing Act, or any questions regarding property management, get in touch with the experts at Campus Connection Property Management!
We can help with property marketing, maintenance, tenant screening, ensuring the Fair Housing Act is being followed, and much more! Learn more about our services today!
This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.