Tiffany Elder, MBA, Realtor
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Fair Housing Overview and Raleigh-Durham Market Update
May 15th, 2014 9:13 PM

Upcoming Landlord Training Workshop 

Register Today for only $10!
Sponsored by the City of Durham
Workshop to Help Landlords Effectively Manage Properties and Halt Illegal Activity

Fast Facts:

The Landlord Training Workshop is specifically designed to assist landlords, property managers, resident managers, and any others who are actively involved in managing rental housing. The Landlord Training Workshop is conducted on the third Thursday of every month as part of the Proactive Rental Inspection Program to provide regular training opportunities to help landlords become more effective property managers.

This workshop will demonstrate effective property management practices to significantly contribute to safe and decent housing as well as provide successful techniques on how to halt illegal activity on rental properties. Workshop topics will include how to build landlord, renter, homeowner, and business relationships; applicant screening techniques; rental agreements and fair housing issues; management techniques; the eviction process; how to achieve a stable, satisfied tenant base; how to maintain property to habitable standards; City code enforcement; Proactive Rental Inspection Ordinance (PRIP); and the Property Management Entrepreneurs Program Plan (PMEP).

 The cost to attend is $10 per person and includes workshop materials. Seating is limited. Attendees may pay by check or money order before Tuesday, May 13. To download the workshop brochure and registration form, visit http://bit.ly/1jE8V4u

Interested participants may also contact Lynwood Best, community engagement manager with the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, at (919) 560-1647, ext. 34254 or by email at Lynwood.Best@DurhamNC.gov.


Triangle Market Update
Provided by Triangle MLS
Updates are for the period ending in March 2014.

Fair Housing Overview

This topic includes more nuances than I can tackle in this brief update, but I’ll try my best to cover some of the basics. Remember that state and federal housing laws apply to ALL individuals, not just Realtors or large firms.  These laws list 7 protected classes that landlords and home-sellers need to be aware of when advertising, showing, leasing and selling their properties.  Those found violating these laws are subject to disciplinary action and heavy financial penalties.  Visit the HUD Fair Housing website for additional information 

Protected classes:
  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex/Gender 
  • Handicap/Disability
  • Familial Status

Be aware that certain practices that might project an slight internal preference can be blatant Fair Housing Violations.  Let’s look at 2 examples:

  1. Stating that a unit is already rented based on the race of the inquirer.
  2. Showing multiple units in a multi-family building to prospects of 1 national origin, but showing limited units, to other groups.

Also be aware that certain terms in your advertising can violate fair housing.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has compiled advertising guidelines to ensure the public understands their requirements.  The following is a list of terms that are unacceptable due to a discriminatory inference or connotation.  These terms should be avoided in advertising property for lease or sale:
  • able-bodied
  • active
  • adult-only
  • no alcoholics
  • no blind/impaired
  • no children
  • couples only
  • male only/female only
  • restricted
  • exclusive

To further illustrate, the following is an advertising example compiled from examples from the NC Real Estate Commission that includes numerous questionable fair housing-related items. Explanations for other questionable items are also noted.:

Perfect retirement nest, or ideal for Christian SWF, over 30.  Quaint 2BR, 2BA stone bungalow, 1640 Sqft, New HVAC; Kitchen remodeled, fenced private yard.  Quiet neighborhood.  $235,000.  Call Mary Jones, 929-783-2694

The ad seems simple enough, but when we take a close look it includes several questionable items:
  1. “retirement nest” - leans to a preferred buyer-type that can violate fair housing due to discrimination based on familial status
  2. “Ideal for Christian SWF over 30”.  This one should be self-explanatory as it includes violations based on religion and sex/gender. Age is protected under some state guidelines, so it’s probably best to avoid this altogether.
  3. “New” HVAC.  This is not a Fair housing violation, but be careful.  Unless it was just installed, and unused, be careful with describing an item as “new”.  You’d be surprised how broadly this term is used in advertisements, and in some cases can lead buyers/tenants and lead to disagreements. 
  4. Kitchen “remodeled”.  Similar to #2 above, it is not a Fair housing issue, but be descriptive with this items if space allows to alleviate disagreements with prospective tenants or buyers. 
  5. “Quiet” is also a subjective term and should be avoided. 
  6. “1/2 block from synagogue”.  This one is tricky, as it seems to be a material fact based on the existence of a nearby synagogue. However, it is better to use “place of worship” to avoid the appearance of perforce for a specific religious group.

Congratulations to our clients!
The market is picking up for the spring/summer season, and properties are turning over quickly in desirable areas.  We've even noticed an upswing in multiple-offer situations, and low inventory in some areas.  We'd like to congratulate our clients, Ricky, Rebecca and Nicole on their recent property acquisitions.  Equity and cash-flow are the cornerstones of real estate.We are excited to be a part of your team, so be sure to keep up updated on your progress!


Quick Renovation Tip
Wallpaper has come up quite a bit with our clients recently.  In most cases, wallpaper does not help you sell a home, as in many cases it is considered "cheap" or "dated", or might be too personalized for the viewing public.  Remember, this item can be resolved relatively easily if it is on the walls in a home that you are considering for purchase.  When selecting a property, pay closer attention to those items that are more expensive to resolve (i.e. an obsolete floor plans, systems needing replacement, etc...).  but, in case wallpaper has been a part of your conversations recently, the following is a solution. Wallpaper Wonder: Get extremely-stuck wallpaper off the wall fast with a mixture of fabric softener, vinegar, and hot water. Then, paint that wall! 


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Posted by Tiffany Elder on May 15th, 2014 9:13 PMPost a Comment

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Posted by Jill on May 28th, 2014 3:14 AM

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