Fair Housing Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Fair Housing Law

This month, the Coach offers a fair housing quiz designed to help you test your knowledge of fair housing law. The rules forbidding housing discrimination can get complicated, so it’s important that everyone working at your community understands fair housing—and knows how to apply it in everyday dealings with the public.

This month, the Coach offers a fair housing quiz designed to help you test your knowledge of fair housing law. The rules forbidding housing discrimination can get complicated, so it’s important that everyone working at your community understands fair housing—and knows how to apply it in everyday dealings with the public.

The first step is to test your knowledge of fair housing basics under federal law—the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The test in this month’s issue can help clarify how well you understand and can apply fair housing principles. Based on your answers, you’ll be able to identify any potential problem areas that might merit some further attention or training.

While taking a test may not be your idea of fun, it’s perhaps the easiest way to identify where your efforts to comply with fair housing law need some tweaking. And it’s a lot less painful than the way that many communities learn that their compliance efforts aren’t up to snuff: being on the receiving end of a fair housing complaint.

Editor’s Note: Get the information you need to address any of these fair housing concerns on our website at www.FairHousingCoach.com. You can view the most recent issues of Fair Housing Coach and search the archive for previous issues on any particular topics of concern.

FAIR HOUSING TEST

INSTRUCTIONS: Each of the following questions has only one correct answer. On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, (1) b, (2) a, and so on. The correct answers (with explanations) follow the test. Good luck!

QUESTION #1

Federal fair housing law bans housing discrimination based on (list all that apply):

a.   Sex.

b.   Sexual orientation.

c.   Familial status.

d.   Marital status.

e.   Religion.

f.   Disability.

g.   Age.

h.   Color.

i.   Source of income.

j.   National origin.

k.   Race.

QUESTION #2

As long as your community complies with federal fair housing law, you’ve done all you can to avoid fair housing trouble. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #3

Communities may be liable under federal fair housing law for housing practices that have a discriminatory effect based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability, even if there’s no intent to discriminate. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #4

A community could be accused of discrimination just from the way that phone calls or emails from prospects are handled. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #5

If a resident violates the lease and you have solid grounds for eviction, you should give that resident a second chance if:

a.   The resident is a member of a protected class and you’re worried he’ll sue you for discrimination.

b.   You’re good friends with the resident and you want to give him a break.

c.   You give all your residents a second chance in the same situation.

QUESTION #6

You could get into trouble if you answer a question about how many African Americans live at your community even if the question comes from an African-American prospect. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #7

You could trigger a fair housing complaint if your print advertising describes the unit as “Perfect for empty nesters.” True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #8

The same ad mentioned in Question #7 wouldn’t be a problem if you run it only online. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #9

It’s illegal to refuse to rent to any minority prospects, but not to bend the truth about available units when they ask about vacancies. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #10

A white resident may pursue a fair housing claim if the community, its staff, or others harass or discriminate against her because her boyfriend is African American. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #11

You know that it’s unlawful to refuse to rent to people from other countries, but you could also face a fair housing complaint for refusing rent to applicants who can’t speak English. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False. 

QUESTION #12

A young couple are interested in renting a one-bedroom unit. They recently moved here from Russia, so you tell them about a vacancy next door to a Russian-speaking family. Although there are other available units, you believe they’d be more comfortable living near others who share the same cultural background. Since you’re acting in their best interest, you can’t be accused of a fair housing violation. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #13

A pregnant woman comes to see an available one-bedroom unit, but you remember that the elderly couple living next door used to complain about noise from the previous tenant’s children. To avoid similar complaints about a crying baby, you tell her that the unit is no longer available. Since she doesn’t have a child now, you could not be accused of a fair housing violation. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #14

You’ve received a number of complaints about noisy children playing outside. Although you have a legitimate reason to curb their behavior, you could face a fair housing complaint if you adopt a policy requiring adult supervision for all outdoor activities of children under 12. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #15

Most of your residents have lived at the community for many years. Most are single or couples, whose children have grown. Since most of your residents are over 55, you can market the property as an adult community to prevent anyone with young children from moving in. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #16

You could be accused of a fair housing violation if you wish residents a “Merry Christmas.” True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #17

Your community allows residents to reserve the common room for parties and other social activities. If residents may reserve the room for Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations, then you could face a discrimination claim if you won’t allow a resident to reserve the room to host a pagan celebration to mark the winter solstice. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #18

Under fair housing law, you must consider requests for reasonable accommodations even if the resident doesn’t appear to have a disability. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #19

If a reasonable accommodation request comes from a resident without an apparent disability, then you can require documentation from his treating physician to verify that he has a disability. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #20

You get a call from a resident’s daughter, who lives out of state. She explains that her mother doesn’t drive due to a disability and needs someone from the community to go to the pharmacy to pick up her medication and deliver it to her unit. Although your community doesn’t provide transportation or shopping services to residents, you should comply with the daughter’s request to avoid fair housing trouble. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #21

Several months after moving into your community, a resident tells you that she’s disabled and asks you to reserve for her an accessible parking space near her unit. You may deny the request because she didn’t ask for the space when she moved in. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #22

Federal fair housing law prohibits communities from having a pet policy. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #23

Your community has a no-pet policy. Recently, you discovered that a resident has a cat in her unit, but she insists that she’s disabled and it’s an emotional support animal. It seems as if she’s just trying to keep her pet cat, so you can enforce the lease to require her to remove the animal. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #24

We can require all applicants who have animals to pay extra fees or an additional security deposit to cover any potential property damage the animal may cause. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.

QUESTION #25

Three years ago, a resident filed a fair housing complaint against your community, but it was later dismissed. Over the past six months, she’s fallen behind on her rent. Even though she hasn’t paid her rent again this month, you can’t evict her because of her previous fair housing complaint. True or false?

a.   True.

b.   False.