Fair Housing in Roommate Matching

In 2013, RoomSync talked with Nadeen Green (For Rent Media Solutions’ Senior Counsel) and Kim Cory (Director of Student Media with For Rent Media Solutions and ForRentUniversity.com) about the Fair Housing Act and how it impacts roommate matching in student housing.  The information in the interview remains highly relevant an accurate today.

Three Things Every Property Should Know

1. It is wise from a risk management standpoint for a landlord to delegate roommate matching to a third-party provider, not unlike the way many landlords delegate criminal background status checks and credit checks to third-party providers.

2. In the event that a landlord does choose to do roommate matching, prospects should be advised that matching will only be based on criteria unrelated to protected classes: race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status and disability. The only exception here is gender, which has always been allowed in order to designate a unit all female or all male if it contains shared bathrooms or kitchens.

3. In the event that a landlord does choose to do roommate matching, prospects should be advised that the landlord will not intervene (or excuse from leases, or relocate someone) in disputes based on protected class status.

The interview answers questions about the law, lifestyle questionnaires, the practice of steering, and how to handle dissatisfaction among residents, and the positive impact of roommate self-selection in avoiding Fair Housing violations.

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