Author: lford

4 Fair Housing Topics You Need to Review Now!


An important (and sometimes intimidating) piece of the multifamily housing industry is Fair Housing. It is vital that everyone on the team is familiar with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Guidelines and how to adhere to them to ensure everyone has fair access to housing. Fair housing guidelines are always evolving, so making sure your knowledge is current is paramount.

In the past, Fair Housing guidelines looked very different than they do today. There was a time when it was acceptable to enforce any of the following residential policies:

  • No kids allowed
  • Eviction for pregnancy
  • No criminal records for 7 years
  • No felonies – ever!

Looking at the old standards, we can understand how some of the newer Fair Housing guidelines have come into effect. When issues or needs are identified, guidelines change. Familial status and rental criteria are two areas where changes have been made to help level the playing field for access to housing. So where are other areas we may see changes in the future? (Note that some of these protections already exist in some limited areas.)

  • Political affiliation – Today’s politics have become very divisive and may begin to impact housing access.
  • Source of income – Some sources of income (Section 8, vouchers, etc.) are not currently accepted by some companies. This may come under review and modifications may be made to fair housing guidelines to prevent discrimination due to income source.
  • Arbitrary characteristics – Certain characteristics (tattoos, piercings, facial hair, etc.) can impact the way individuals are perceived and may ultimately lead to housing discrimination. The state of California has already enacted protections to prevent this type of discrimination.

Remember, unintentional discrimination is still discrimination. Sometimes, there is just a lack of clarity about how certain policies need to be enforced. Let’s review some of the major topics to gain a better understanding.

Reasonable Modifications

  • The Request – The Fair Housing Act does not require that a request be made in a particular manner or at a particular time. The request does not have to use the term “reasonable modification” and it can be made by the resident or someone else acting on the resident’s behalf, such as a family member.
  • Verification – The housing provider may request reliable disability-related information that verifies the person meets the Fair Housing Act’s definition of disability, describes the needed modification, and shows the relationship between the person’s disability and the need for the requested modification.
  • Esthetics – If specific material is preferred for aesthetics and the material is more expensive than other available supplies, the housing provider cannot require it unless they are paying for it. If the preferred material is less than the resident’s preferred material, it is a reasonable expectation for the resident to adapt.
  • Interior vs Exterior – Requiring restoration of interior modifications is acceptable if the modification will impact future residents. Requiring restoration of modifications made to exteriors is not common, so consider paying the difference to get your preferred material.
  • Installation – We can only require a permit for modification if it is a legal requirement in your area. The choice of the installer is up to the resident as long as they meet reasonable guidelines. If the resident is qualified to make modifications, it may be reasonable for them to make the needed modifications themselves.

Nuisance and Crime Free Housing

The intent of these programs is to support the safety of the community and residents, so review your policies to make sure they do not go too far. Some examples of this include:

  • Strong mandates that encourage housing providers to evict tenants due to allegedly engaging in a single incident of criminal activity either on or off-site
  • Encouraging eviction based on an arrest alone

The lines can become blurred regarding this objective, so careful consideration of circumstance is crucial.

Addressing Harassment

The Fair Housing Act and Equal Access Rule protect applicants and residents. You may be surprised to learn that failing to take action to stop harassment of a resident or application by an employee, agent, or other residents could be considered a Fair Housing violation. This includes situations where you knew or even should have known of the harassment.

Assistance Animals

Per guidelines, assistance animals are not pets. There are two types of assistance animals – service animals and other animals that do work, perform tasks, provide assistance, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities (referred to as “support animals”). No additional fees may be imposed for animals that qualify as assistance animals. Take some time with your team to become familiar with current Fair Housing guidelines and how they compare to your current community policies to see if any updates need to be made.


Contributed by:

Wesley Aleshire

Wesley Aleshire

Training | Consulting | Design Services

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Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With almost 40 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.

Achieve Emotional Balance Through Living with Intention


Did you know that just by changing the way you think and process the world around you, you can mitigate stress, get more out of your day, and achieve emotional balance? You become whatever you think about all day long; meaning stress is heightened when you think stressful thoughts. If your mind is always focused on feeling stress, you won’t have room for more productive thought processes. If you want to achieve emotional balance, the best place to start is with honest, non-judgemental self-reflection.

  • How often do you find yourself thinking and worrying about the past or future?
  • How often are you able to truly focus on what is happening in the present moment?
  • How often do you practice stress-reducing activities like meditation, journaling, exercise, nature walks, etc.?

Our negative thoughts do more than just make us feel anxious; they can also create physical sensations and symptoms. Acute stress (more short-term, situational stress) can cause:

  • Your muscles to become tense
  • Your heart rate to become elevated and circulation to be constricted
  • Your digestion to shut down and your mouth to get dry
  • Your adrenaline and cortisol levels to surge
  • Your sleep to become disrupted

When you carry these negative thoughts and stress long term, you can experience:

  • Pain from muscle tension in the form of chronic tension headaches, tooth grinding & TMJ, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia and other pain syndromes
  • Heart disease and increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Inflammatory disorders of the gut, malabsorption, heartburn, reflux and irritable bowel
  • An increased risk of autoimmune disorders
  • Adrenal fatigue, circadian rhythm disturbance, sex hormone imbalance and even early menopause or menstrual irregularities
  • Insomnia, memory problems and structural brain changes

In order to combat the physical and emotional threats brought about by chronic stress, we must work towards inner balance. However, to achieve emotional balance, changing behaviors is not the only step. Even when you modify your behavior and schedule, you won’t find balance until you also adjust your way of thinking. You must learn how to match your thoughts and energy with what you desire in life through intentional living to achieve emotional balance.

An intention is a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in the world, whether at work, in relationships, during your meditation, or in any other area of your life. To identify your intention, you must first identify what matters most to you. Once you’ve determined your intention, you can use it to help guide your actions and thoughts as you move through each day.

When you are working to find your intention, resist the urge to phrase it as something you don’t want, such as “I don’t want to feel stressed.” This will only create more stress because your focus is on stress itself. Instead, identify new desires, such as presence, hope, patience, health, trust, courage, focus, or peace. Once you adopt your desired intention, align your thoughts and actions with it throughout the day. Make it your mental focus and respond to the outside world in ways that support your chosen intention and desire to achieve emotional balance.

Maybe you’re not sure exactly what you want. One great way to start is to think about what you definitely don’t want and then make your intention the opposite of that thing. If you still need some help getting started on your path to achieving emotional balance, here are several great intentions:

  • I intend to lead by example .
  • I intend to be peace wherever I go.
  • I intend to make meditation a more important part of my lifestyle.
  • I intend to stop taking things personally.
  • I intend to release judgements of myself and others easily.
  • I intend to be open to success and support.
  • I intend better health.

Once you’re set on your new intention, you will begin the process of realignment. This process includes the following actions:

1. Slow Down

  • Begin thinking about the safety of slowing down; understand that there is safety in slowing down.
  • Allow yourself to slow down in your energy, your thoughts, and your actions.
  • Slow down, do one thing at a time and go about your life with ease. If you don’t do this intentionally, life will eventually force you to.
  • Gabby Bernstein says, “Do less and attract more.”

2. Genuine Presence

  • Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra asks himself a series of questions as he starts each day to bring forward a powerful energy: “Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve? What am I grateful for?”
  • By bringing a genuine presence to your day, you will notice how your inner and outer self feels moment by moment
  • The more you bring this peaceful energy forward in everything you do, you are cultivating a clearer awareness in your mind, which helps the bran from being overloaded

3. Silence is Golden

  • Avoid making sure you fill every minute of your day with distraction and business.
  • It’s only in stillness and silence that you can access the awareness needed for living in the now and achieve emotional balance
  • You can’t think your way into your intention, but you can allow it to come through in the silence.
  • The solution to stop obsessively thinking is to embrace silence.

4. Non-Judgmental Awareness

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Simply put, mindfulness is moment-to-moment non-judgemental awareness.”
  • This time is an opportunity for us all to release judgement of one another and instead practice awareness.
  • Recognize your own judgements and simply choose again. Tell yourself, “I choose (intention) instead of this.”

Consider these other tools to help you realign and achieve emotional balance in yourself:

  • Set intentions that you actually believe in – it must be authentic.
  • Manage your attitude.
  • Meditate on your intention.
  • Journal about why you’re grateful for it and how you plan to step into it.
  • Breathe into and with the intention.
  • Just for today, focus on setting intentions for short term vs long term emotional balance.

Most of all, as you work to achieve emotional balance, remember: “Your intentions create your reality.” – Wayne Dyer


Contributed by:

Alisha Leytem

Well-being Coach | Wellness Consultant | Retreat Facilitator
CEO and Founder of Alisha Leytem, LLC

Read more like this from Edge2Learn

Click here to access additional Leasing Training Resources


Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With almost 40 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.

How to Be a Better Ally in the Workplace


We live in a world with a dynamic social climate, and we must be willing to evolve with it to be truly recognized as an ally or advocate. However, the words “ally” and “advocate” are more than just words that describe us as a person – they’re also action words. Ally and advocate as action words means making the effort to remain self-aware, as well as taking action to make changes and correct misperceptions of those in the greater community where we live. In other words, we must learn how to be a better ally in the workplace.

An ally is someone with privileges who notices injustices and takes action by bringing attention to the injustice and requesting that it is corrected. An ally uses his or her privilege to advocate for someone else who does not share the same privilege.

An advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy to bring about the removal of barriers to creating opportunities for marginalized groups. An activist is someone who vigorously commits to and campaigns for change, in an effort to be a better ally.

An advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy to bring about the removal of barriers to creating opportunities for marginalized groups. An activist is someone who vigorously commits to and campaigns for change, in an effort to be a better ally.

Although sometimes controversial, it is important to be able to identify your own privilege so that you can use this as an advantage when advocating for others. Some characteristics of people who generally enjoy privilege include:

  • White people
  • Able-bodied people
  • Heterosexuals
  • Males
  • English-speaking people

Some people misinterpret the term “privilege” and believe it implies a lack of struggles or hardship in life. In fact, social privilege simply means possessing characteristics that have not specifically created obstacles in education, employment, housing, legal matters, income, etc. A person can enjoy one or more social privileges and still have faced difficulties in life, financial hardships, employment challenges and more. Those with privilege can learn how to be a better ally in the workplace.

Some of the groups who have been historically marginalized, meaning lacking privilege, include:

  • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)
  • LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual)
  • AAPI (Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders)
  • Women
  • Members of certain religions
  • Disabled people
  • Elderly people

To aid these marginalized groups in our community, we have to understand how to be a better ally in the workplace. Allyship and advocacy are primarily needed to address:

  • Social Concerns such as the victimization of black citizens by the police or white vigilantes, crimes against Asian Americans due to inflammatory comments around the origins of COVID-19, and the absence of employment protections for LGBTQIA+ Americans in 29 of our 50 states.
  • Women and BIPOC are still very underrepresented in today’s workplace and the income disparities for female workers (especially BIPOC) have yet to be eliminated.

Popular comedian, activist, and YouTube personality Franchesca Ramsey has said we should be uplifting other voices instead of speaking over them.

Keep in mind a true ally:

  • Acknowledges issues
  • Doesn’t speak over others for whom they are advocating
  • Educates and researches
  • Does not center themselves in the narrative
  • Gets involved
  • Does not expect members of marginalized classes to educate them
  • Listens to and believes what they are told by marginalized people
  • Calls out offensive jokes or statements within their own social circle
  • Takes responsibility and works to change

Remember, your inaction or silence on important social issues only helps the oppressors, not the oppressed. Although change and conflict can be uncomfortable, it’s a necessary process to work towards an equitable society for everyone. You can be a better ally in the workplace.


Contributed by:

Kathy Vance

Property Management Content Strategist
Ellis Partners in Management Solutions, Edge2Learn

Read more like this from Edge2Learn

Click here to access additional Leasing Training Resources


Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With almost 40 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.