As President of CPBM (Cal Bay Property Management), Scott Safadi has been in the property management business since 2005. Based in the Silicon Valley, apartment communities are CPBM’s main stock in trade; Scott Safadi has been designated a California Certified Resident Manager.
Q: What exactly is the Fair Housing Act?
Scott Safadi: The Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination based on religion, race or nationality. In addition, it protects against retaliation towards fair-housing advocates. It now includes protections against discrimination based on sex, or families with children or the disabled.
Q: What can you tell us about the basics of the fair housing laws?
Scott Safadi: What it really comes down to is that applicants and tenants receive equal, objective treatment, without bias. That sounds simple, but the legal terminology starts to get a little more complex.
Q: How so?
Scott Safadi: It’s understandable for people to think that the law isn’t applied fairly when their application for rental is denied. That’s why we often feel it’s best to sub that part of the process to a third-party agency. With the screening and the decision out of the landlord’s control, it negates any possibility of partiality or bias. If there is a problem, it’s up to the applicant to take it up with the third party and not the landlord.
Q: How can a third-party make that much difference?
Scott Safadi: The third party takes the landlord’s set of criteria and applies them evenhandedly to every applicant. Some landlords tend to think it’s just a judgment call on each application, but that is often where they set themselves up for trouble.
Q: Aren’t vacancies filled on a first-come, first-served basis?
Scott Safadi: By law, yes. And that is something that has to be followed to the letter; after acceptance, the applicant may be asked to put down a deposit in 24 hours’ time. It’s imperative that this be followed to the letter for everyone, though, to avoid even the appearance of bias.
Scott Safadi is a resident of Saratoga, California, where he lives with his family. Scott Safadi suggests consulting the website On-Site.com for more information on tenant screening, forms, web-based resources and more for those in the apartment and property management business.