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Rental Trends: Understanding the Fair Housing Rental Laws in D.C.

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This biweekly sponsored column is written by the experts at Gordon James Realty, a local property management firm that specializes in residential real estate, commercial real estate and home owner associations. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Income property owners are likely aware of federal Fair Housing laws, but they may be less familiar with D.C.’s ban on discrimination based on appearance or other additional anti-discrimination protections that exist throughout the D.C. metro area.

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or family status. But each state, city and county in the region makes it illegal to discriminate against several additional groups, known as protected classes.

Following are additional protections in each jurisdiction.

In D.C., landlords may not discriminate in housing based on: age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, matriculation (being enrolled in college or other secondary education), political affiliation, source of income, place of residence or business or being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

In Virginia, state law protects those who are 55 or older from age-based discrimination in housing. In Northern Virginia, both Arlington County and Alexandria outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status. Alexandria also prohibits discrimination based on children and ancestry.

The variations from place to place make it crucial that landlords know and follow all federal, state and local laws when advertising property, selecting tenants, and working or communicating with interested applicants and tenants. Each year, about 10,000 housing discrimination charges are filed, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Discrimination can take many forms. A few examples include: imposing additional checks or requirements for some groups applicants and not others, overtly refusing to rent to someone in a protected class, refusing to allow a guide dog in a pet-free building, refusing to allow a tenant to make reasonable modifications to a property to accommodate a disability, and asking screening questions that are discriminatory or may be interpreted as being discriminatory against any protected group.

Professional, licensed property managers are required to understand all federal and local Fair Housing rental laws and ensure they are followed, both to safeguard the rights of applicants and tenants and to protect owners from legal trouble. Of course, a property manager can help ensure owners rely only on legal, relevant and consistent criteria for making decisions about applicants’ qualifications, such as credit history, income ratio and rental history. You can learn more about our property management services.

This article does not serve as legal advice and is offered only for informational purposes.

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The 44th Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard
Sale will be along the John Marshall Drive/Ohio Street greenway on
Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The community will be out in
force to exchange information and greetings, sell unneeded household
items, and pick up a few bargains.

About 100 families set up tables for the festivities, which take
place along the six-block stretch of the greenway from near Langston
Blvd. to Washington Blvd. Attendance is free, but
a $10 fee will be collected from individuals and families selling
household items during the event. Ensure that all goods and rubbish are
removed from the greenway by 1 p.m. Leave dogs at home.

For more info, call 703-532-6101. If planning to sell, start labeling
your items for sale NOW! Event will take place as long as there is not
active rain. Rain date is June 10.

Submit your own Announcement here.



Sat, June 3rd I 3:30 pm / Shows 5:50 pm I Kenmore Auditorium I Glencarlyn

The 36th Festival Argentino USA celebrates Argentine Day and Cultural Freedom. The folkloric group Los 4 de Córdoba and 25 more artists from Argentina, World, and Solidarity Tribute, 200 years of friendship between USA and Argentina!.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.

Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers

4th of July Celebration & Fireworks

Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.

Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,


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