By: Nick Griffith & Nicole Fandel, Director of Conventional Housing and Marketing Specialist
How We Keep Our Clients in Compliance with the Law
One of the most important facets of property management is maintaining legal compliance. As daunting as that can be for one owner, Arbors has a dedicated Compliance Department to ensure that you and your property are in the clear.
So how do we keep our clients legally compliant? We’ll break that down in this article over these five different categories:
- Fair Housing
- Occupancy Permits
- Reasonable Accommodations and Reasonable Modifications
- Compliance Department Review
1. Fair Housing
First and foremost, we want to make sure your property is compliant with fair housing regulations, one of the most important aspects of managing rental properties. How do we keep you in compliance with fair housing law?
One of the best ways for us to do this is through our screening criteria. We’ve developed our screening criteria over the 40 years that we’ve been in business and abide by that criteria on properties that we manage in order to avoid any fair housing violations.
In an effort to eliminate unfair advantage or preference among applicants, we process applications by the standards set by the Pennsylvania State Law. We also process applications in the order that they are received.
Additionally, our agents representing you have their real estate salesperson license. With this comes continuing education to ensure we stay up to date with all legal requirements and updates pertaining to keeping you compliant with local, state, and federal laws.
2. Occupancy Permits
Another way that we keep you in compliance is by keeping your property in rental housing code compliance with any state, local, or municipality housing standards. One of the items that is included in many of these local requirements is an occupancy permit or a rental registration.
If you do have a rental property under our management, we will take care of occupancy permits or rental registrations required by any local municipality or governments. This includes:
- Payment on our clients’ behalf of rental registration fees
- Coordinating and potentially attending occupancy inspections
- Arranging any repairs needed in order to stay compliant with local municipality occupancy standards
We perform annual inspections – we call them interim inspections. At these inspections, we’re looking for common things at your property that are required by the local municipalities to make sure that you’re able to obtain occupancy permits. The most common things are:
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Any other obvious safety deficiencies at the property
If we do find that any of these items need attention, we will address them.
4. Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications
Occasionally, a resident may request for a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification to your property.
We are trained and well-versed in the requirements necessary in order to approve or deny these requests.
We will handle the proper paperwork and forms to document the request to complete everything, all while making sure – you guessed it – that you are staying in compliance by abiding by fair housing laws when accommodating or denying a request.
Here’s the difference between the two:
Reasonable Accommodation: request for a change in our policies and procedures to accommodate a resident for a need that they have.
*Responsibility of the landlord to pay
Ex: Allowing a service animal to occupy a property with a no-pet policy
Reasonable Modification: request to change the physical nature of the property to accommodate a resident for a need that they have.
*Responsibility of the resident to pay
Ex: Installing a ramp to the front entrance of a property because the resident is wheelchair bound
5. Compliance Department Review
Any new residents moving into your property will be reviewed by our Compliance Department in order to ensure that we met all of the screening criteria appropriately.
A few items that the Compliance Department review are:
- The lease
- Credit and criminal reports
- Photo identification
- Proof of income
If they do find any errors or discrepancies, our management staff will be alerted and those will be corrected as soon as possible.
Arbors Management Keeps You Compliant
With over 40 years of experience in property management in Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, we’ve learned a thing or two about legal compliance.
When you hire Arbors Management to manage your property, you are also hiring a dedicated Compliance Department that ensures that you and your property are operating within the bounds of the law.
If you have any questions about our professional Pittsburgh property management services, including how our Compliance Department works, please contact us through this form, or give us a call at 1 (800) 963-1280.
Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and the information herein is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with your attorney for any matters pertaining to your specific situation.