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GDREIA General Meeting September 7, 2016 | By: Fellow GDREIA Members

Ethics and Fair Housing

One thing is certain in business – all of us will face tough decisions and ethical tests. Investors heard a thoughtful presentation of the subject “What is Ethical Behavior in Real Estate?” during September’s First Wednesday general membership meeting September 7, 2016. Former GDREIA president Mike Baughman had questions and answers for the audience – and suggested that some seemingly complicated ethical decisions can be made simpler by applying a few simple tests. For example, you should ask yourself if what you’re about to do is fair. How will the decision make you feel about yourself? Would you want the story of your decision to be reported on the front page of the newspaper? What would your mom think? Attendees also discussed a number of situations that could present ethical problems and proposed solutions during the session.

John Zimmermann from the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center also addressed the FirstWednesday meeting – providing insight into the sometimes-confusing rules affecting rental real estate. Zimmerman urged housing providers to pursue “best practices” in non-discriminatory rental policies. He also answered a question that has been buzzing around real estate investment circles since April – does new guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development require landlords to rent to felons? The answer is “no,” Zimmerman said, although HUD is urging housing providers to forego blanket bans on potential tenants with criminal records – and develop more flexible policies such as “no felony convictions within X years.” In this and other fair housing questions, landlords should have written policies, but be prepared to discuss the merits of individual cases and possible exceptions to the rules, Zimmerman said.

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