Don’t run afoul of housing discrimination laws

by Ryan Smith01 Nov 2018

One of the great dangers multifamily property owners and managers can face is running afoul of housing discrimination laws. According to the Fair Housing Alliance, 87.4% of housing discrimination acts reported last year occurred during rental transactions.

“Tenants today are very aware and sensitive to their treatment with regards to sexual orientation, familial stauts and so on,” said Tameka Livatino, assistant vice president for specialty underwriting, Midwest Region, NAS Insurance. “These things are very highly acknowledged, and it’s important for property managers and owners to understand that.”

Livatino will be co-hosting an NAS webinar, “Tenant Discrimination Insurance – Protecting Property Managers and Owners”, at 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 14. The webinar will cover the NAS tenant discrimination insurance policy and explain how testing by national and local fair-housing organizations could affect multifamily owners.

“We often find that property managers or owners don’t intend to discriminate,” Livatino said. “What happens is, they impose a rule or regulation on their property, which is perceived by a tenant as discrimination. Those types of claims have to be defended even if it was not the insured’s intent to discriminate – and the proceedings can be very costly.”

In addition to NAS’s standalone tenant discrimination policy, the company also writes property managers’ errors and omissions coverage, which includes a discrimination component, Livatino said.

“Quite frankly, the discrimination portion of the property managers’ E&O is where we see the most claims,” she said. “If you own or manage a property and your evaluation process is considered discriminatory in any way, a claim can be filed, leading to a costly defense process.”

To learn more about housing discrimination and tenant discrimination insurance, sign up for NAS’s webinar here