COACH's Pop Quiz!
Q: You could get into fair housing trouble if you turn away prospects because they don’t speak English. True or false?
A: True. Fair housing experts warn that you should never refuse to show or rent housing just because of an applicant’s limited ability to speak, read, write, or understand English.
It’s important for all housing providers to be aware of HUD’s latest “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP) guidelines issued last year. The guidelines explain how fair housing law applies to claims of housing discrimination brought by people because they do not speak, read, or write English proficiently. Though people with limited English proficiency are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, the guidelines say that the law bans discrimination based on national origin, which is closely linked to the ability to communicate proficiently in English. The new guidelines apply to conventional private housing, as well as public and federally assisted housing providers.
For more information, see the May 2017 issue of Fair Housing Coach, “Avoiding Legal Trouble When Renting to Immigrants and Noncitizens,” available to our subscribers here.