COACH's Pop Quiz!

Q: Your office staff is shorthanded, so you hire a new employee to answer the phones. Since she has prior experience working in a leasing office, you should let her get to work immediately. True or false?

A: False. Make sure that new hires get at least some basic fair housing training—before allowing them to answer the phone or interact with the public.

Why? Because it’s risky to let someone who’s new on the job to answer the phone: They may not be familiar with fair housing requirements or have had a chance to learn the specifics of your community’s policies. It’s bad enough if they make an offhand remark or give the wrong answer to a question from a prospect, but it’s even worse if the caller turns out to be a fair housing tester. Even experienced staff can sometimes get tripped up by their questions, but the risk increases dramatically if you put a new employee in a position that triggers further investigation—or perhaps, a fair housing complaint.

This tip was near the top of list when we asked our fair housing experts about the most important things that communities like yours can do right away to avoid fair housing trouble. More tips from our experts can be found in the October 2016 issue of Fair Housing Coach, “10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Avoid Fair Housing Trouble,” available to our subscribers here.