When Prospects Ask, “What Kind of People Live Here?”
It happens often. You are asked the question, “What kind of people live here?” This question may seem innocent at first, but you quickly recognize the prospect or resident is digging for information based on a protected class such as race, color, or national origin. Sometimes it is even more direct.
- Do many Mexicans live here?
- I don’t want to live around Muslims.
- Is it noisy here? Any kids?
- Is it true this place has lots of Christians?
Of course, your answer must never reveal any discrimination or favoritism based on the 7 Federal protect classes of the Fair Housing Act; 1. Race, 2. Color, 3. Religion/Creed, 4. National Origin, 5. Sex or gender, 6. Familia Status, 7. Handicap or Disability.
Here are some responses that will help defuse the question and keep you in compliance.“This community is an equal opportunity renter. We welcome anyone who completes an application and meets our rental criteria.”
If the prospect keeps pushing, you can follow with this.“If I answered that question, I’d be violating not only company policy but also federal fair housing laws. If you’re not familiar with the law, you might want to read the explanation on our fair housing poster.”
Point to the fair housing poster in your office and continue, “I would be happy to show you an apartment, but I can’t answer that question.”
Finally, for that especially persistent and discriminating prospect or resident, use this response. This will stop ‘em in their tracks. (Thanks to Doug Chasick, the Apartment Doctor, for this response!)“So you want to know what kind of people live here? Well, people who pay their rent on time!”