Dear Fair Housing Lady:
When I visit ForRent.com I see ads that tell me that if I move to a particular community I could “walk to the bus stop” or that the community is within “walking distance” of fine dining. And lots of ads refer to “walk-in closets”. But fair housing laws are supposed to protect people with disabilities; don’t you think that it is wrong to make references such as these? After all, some people with disabilities and those that use wheelchairs often cannot walk…
Concerned For Others
Both your awareness of fair housing and your concern is most commendable. But I can assure you that apartment community advertisers are still “walking the line” and still in full compliance with fair housing when they make these references in their advertising. Lately I have been hearing “we cannot say ‘walk’ as this is against fair housing and disability for people in wheelchairs”. Recently someone even frantically asked our company to immediately change their online ad with us because of this. But the concern is unfounded because “walk” is just fine, so I tell our advertisers that they can breathe deeply, relax and advertise accordingly. And if I haven’t convinced you that this is OK, I bet HUD can convince you. So go to HUD.gov and check out their fair housing info and you will find the memo from January 1995 (this is not a typo – “walk” was deemed OK 16 years ago!). And I quote: Advertisements containing descriptions of properties (great view, fourth-floor walk-up, walk-in closets), services or facilities (jogging trails), or neighborhoods (walk to bus-stop) do not violate the Act. So there! If you can’t find the memo, I can email it to you. Reach out to me at [email protected]. And while we are at it, Jewish people can sleep under cathedral ceilings and visually impaired folks can have Venetian blinds.
Fair Housing Lady is the alter-ego of Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel with For Rent Media Solutions™. While that makes her our attorney, she is not yours, so her information is not legal advice for you. She would love to have your questions for future newsletter appearances (so she doesn’t have to make the questions up, which is just extra work), so send them to [email protected].