Fair Housing v. Security; Be Careful When Deciding Whether to Show an Apartment

It is a good management practice to avoid showing apartments when a manager feels threatened in any way. I always advise managers not to show units when they fear being alone with a prospect. However, fair housing law requires the consistent application of policies, so it is critical to train managers to avoid refusal to show units due to certain characteristics of a prospect that may be protected under Fair Housing law, such as race or national origin.

If your management policy permits managers to refuse to show an apartment, you should develop clear procedures on reporting and documenting such events. Any time a leasing consultant refuses to show an apartment, they should be required to write a report with a detailed explanation of the reasons for their decision and the actions they took. In all circumstances, the leasing consultant should ask the prospect to reschedule the visit for a more convenient time.

Refusal to show a unit should be a rare event, so if it is happening often, this can serve as a red flag with regard to the particular leasing consultant. For example, if all the refusals involve members of one race, a discussion with the leasing consultant regarding possible bias may be warranted.