We are the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center (DMFHC), a non-profit fair housing center serving [Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties in the Denver Metro area]. DMFHC mission is to educate, advocate, and enforce fair housing laws regarding the seven 7 federally protected classes of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, family status, and disability.
In this tight rental market, landlords are seeking the best possible tenants for their communities. This means it is important to make sure you don’t miss out on folks who may be great tenants simply because they also happen to have a disability.
National research, which included the Denver metro area in Colorado, revealed that disability discrimination is the number one basis of Fair Housing complaints with Housing and Urban Development (HUD), accounting for over half of complaints filed in 2013.* Some disabilities affect a person’s speech. The following suggestions will assist housing providers in working with possible tenants that have speech impairments.
Concentrate on what the person is saying.
If you do not understand something, ask the person to repeat what he said and then repeat it back to the person.
Be patient; take as much time as necessary to communicate effectively.
When appropriate, ask questions which only require short answers, or a nod of the head.
Avoid communication in noisy, public places.
Do not speak for the person or attempt to finish his/her sentences.
If you are having difficulty understanding what a person is saying, consider asking them write it out or use electronic mail.
It is our hope as the rental season wanes during winter that many apartment and condo communities take the slowdown as an opportunity to review policies, procedures, and staff training on working with people with disabilities. To help in this effort, we have provided a Housing Discrimination Public Service Announcement to post in your office(s) and community as appropriate here.
For more information and training seminars on Fair Housing Act requirements including Fair Housing Act requirements regarding persons with disabilities, please do not hesitate to contact us.
*Annual Report of Fair Housing FY 2012-2013. U.S. Housing of Urban Development. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=ANNUALREPORT2010.PDF