From 2020 to 2021, the number of fair house complaints filed increased by more than 8%, rising from 28,712 to 31,216. According to the National Fair Housing Administration, in addition to an increase in complaints, there has been an increase in hate crimes, discrimination, biases, and other issues.
According to the 2022 Fair Housing Trends Report, the two most common types of complaints were race and disability, apart from gender identity, family situation, origin, and other factors.
Homeowners face discrimination, and the value of their property fluctuates. As per a survey done by Eruka, homes in white communities were worth twice as much as those owned by or associated with communities of color. There’s no doubt that renting a home can be a difficult exercise, subject to many visible and invisible conditionalities.
What, then, should be the proper procedure to prevent tenant discrimination lawsuits? Let us take a look.
What Does Tenant Discrimination Look Like?
To better understand tenant discrimination, let’s look at a real-world example of what it looks like.
You currently own a property that you want to rent out. There have been numerous candidates, some of whom are qualified to manage your property, and there are some who are not. You conduct numerous interviews with individuals and families without ever letting discrimination seep in during the entire process. However, there is one couple who took the rejection personally and are now threatening to sue you because you simply denied their request for leasing or renting out your property.
Discrimination cases can involve race, gender, religion, disability, nationality, color, and, in some cases, unjust evictions. These cases can be classified as mental, emotional, or physical harassment, depending on the evidence and lawsuit presented for the case. In all of these cases, the landlord of any property, whether commercial or personal, may face a major courtroom drama. To avoid this, you can add a special clause to your existing liability policy. This is known as tenant discrimination insurance.
Apart from a legal lawsuit, the following are all the risks associated with getting involved in a tenant discrimination case:
- When a tenant files a discrimination case against the homeowner, the landlord’s reputation may be jeopardized. In today’s world, any discriminatory case, right or wrong, can bring a lot of bad name in society and even harm future rentals.
- These types of cases result in hefty fines and injunctions from the government to improve the procedures for giving property to people of different races, castes, or religions. In such cases, the landlord and any associated staff members must be trained to treat people better in the future.
- If a tenant wins the case and demonstrates that the landlord was involved in causing any sort of discrimination, the court can order the landlord to pay any resulting damages as well as costs associated with moving to a new location in the event of wrongful eviction.
Everything You Should Know About Tenant Discrimination Insurance
Tenant discrimination insurance can be purchased separately or as an add-on to a general liability insurance policy. This type of policy can assist in covering your legal costs as well as any damage that must be paid to the affected tenant in cash or in other ways. The annual premium for such policies can start at $1,850 and can vary depending on several other factors.
What additional steps can you take to avoid being in this situation?
- Make certain that your tenant-hunting advertisement contains neutral pronouns or words that do not imply any discrimination that future tenants may face. This could be useful evidence for you in the future.
- Conduct thorough tenant screening and do not be afraid to ask any pertinent questions that do not hurt anyone’s feelings or give the impression of discrimination at any given point.
- Make your documents effective and elaborate. Also, have a system in place with all tenants to demonstrate that rejecting a tenant’s application was part of your process and had nothing to do with their identity or origin.
- To avoid any conflict, make sure that you communicate everything right away and do not leave any gaps for reading between the lines later on. Being stern but polite is the proper way to decline any application as part of your standard screening process.
Taking the help of any insurance policy is not the end goal; landlords must follow the rules and code of conduct that are in place to protect tenants’ rights to avoid discrimination.
In addition, policyholders must consider the policy limits and deductibles associated with the insurance they purchase. When it comes to protection against tenant discrimination, you must thoroughly review your insurance coverage and understand what it includes and how broadly the spectrum is covered.
Gonzalez insurance provides better and comprehensive coverage, giving you protection against all odds. Get in touch with us to learn more.