INSIDER's Pop Quiz!

Q: From the way a rental prospect is asking questions, you believe she’s really a fair housing tester. You should:

a.            Try to get her out the door as soon as possible to avoid any inadvertent slip-ups.

b.            Treat her the same as everyone else by taking as much time as necessary to respond to her questions.

c.             Give her extra attention by going out of your way to make sure you can’t be accused of any fair housing violation.

A: The correct answer is b. Your best bet is to treat all individuals contacting or visiting your building as if they were part of a fair housing test. Treat all prospects with professionalism and courtesy, starting with the initial contact—whether online, on the phone, or visits to your property.

Wrong answers explained:

a.            Even if you believe that a particular prospect is a tester because of the type of questions she’s asking, it’s a mistake to rush her out the door quickly. Fair housing testers are trained to look for differences in treatment—and giving her short shrift because you’re nervous may give the false impression that you’re treating her brusquely because of a protected characteristic.

b.            By the same token, it’s a mistake to go overboard to lavish extra attention on a prospect even if you suspect she’s a fair housing tester.

With renewed legislative interest in the Human Rights Commission’s fair housing testing program, you and your staff can expect more visits from testers. To make sure you’re ready, see “Follow Five Rules to Prepare for Fair Housing Testers,” available to subscribers here.