A property forms rules regulations review should be part of an annual checkup to catch and inadvertent discrimination in print, especially since most forms can be found online or shared via email. Don’t forget that anything published online, even in social media, is within the scope of discrimination in print and can trigger a fair housing complaint by anyone who reads it.
HUD does not care whether your rules, regulations, or statement you made in print or online was misinterpreted to be discriminatory. HUD does care whether your rule or statement had the effect of being discriminatory, even unintentionally [see 24 CFR Part 100 Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard; Final Rule]
The most overlooked but most important fair housing checkup is the rules & regulations review. This is also the most neglected because properties prefer to “let sleeping dogs lie,” and since the rules haven’t hurt them in the past- why change them?
FHA’s rules & regulations review extends to all things in print which might trigger a fair housing complaint against the property and staff. Anything ‘printed or published’ by the property for distribution to its members or the public is open to HUDs critical inspection and potential litigation.
FHA would examine the following in search of anything discriminatory or limiting:
If our initial review reveals discrimination in print, FHA can suggest compliant language or co-create new documents to take the place of the old documents. If the property is missing any vital documents, FHA can co-create those documents for the property.
FHA has filed many discrimination complaints based upon, or supported by, discriminatory language found on the property’s website or social media pages. This is a growing problem in 2018. Unfortunately people do not see text messaging or communications on Facebook as something which should be scrutinized- HUD would disagree.
If a statement can be read online, it falls within the scrutiny of the FHAct.