Put Nondiscrimination Language in All Written Communications
Like most sites, you communicate in writing with the public, applicants, and residents nearly every day. For example, you probably send out applications, leases, 50059 certification forms, letters, notices, brochures, and flyers. But did you know that HUD requires each of these written communications to contain specific language saying that your site doesn’t discriminate against individuals with disabilities [HUD Handbook 4350.3, par. 2-29(C)(3)]?
You may not be including the required language in your written communications. Not complying with this little-known fair housing requirement could raise a red flag with HUD and fair housing advocates for the disabled, opening you up to stiff penalties.
We’ll tell you what language HUD requires you to include in all written communications, and the best way to comply with this requirement.
Nondiscrimination Language to Include
HUD says you must include the following in all written communications with the public, applicants, and residents:
- Information about the site’s accessibility, such as the universal handicap symbol, if your site is fully accessible; or if you list a telephone number, a TDD number or another equally effective way for hearing-impaired people to reach you;
- A statement that the site doesn’t discriminate against individuals with handicaps or discriminate based on handicap in admission or access to the site; and
- For sites employing 15 or more people, the name or position, address, and telephone number of the person designated to coordinate the owner’s efforts to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The HUD Handbook gives suggested nondiscrimination language you can use. For your convenience, we’ve reprinted that language below in our Model Language: Use HUD’s Suggested Nondiscrimination Language.
Types of Covered Communications
The Handbook gives the following examples of written communications that must contain the nondiscrimination language:
- HUD Form 50059;
- Letters to applicants;
- Letters to residents;
- Responses to inquiries;
- Fact sheets;
- Literature; and
- Other written publicity.
This means that virtually any written communication to the public, applicants, or residents must include the required nondiscrimination language. These HUD Handbook requirements are much broader than the basic nondiscrimination notice requirements under Section 504 regulations, which apply only to certain types of public communication and recruitment materials.
Have Language Printed on Site Stationery, Added to Website
An easy way to make sure you comply with this requirement is to have the required language printed on all of your site’s written communications to the public, applicants, or residents, including letterhead, applications, leases, and memo paper.
You can also check your site’s word processing document templates. You can add the required language when you print letters or other types of communication from the computer. That way, you won’t have to remember to add the language every time you create a new written document.
Also, you should add the language to your website. You should include the nondiscrimination language in a clearly visible section of the website. Owners have placed the language in “About Us” sections and in the footers of their site’s webpages.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Use HUD's Suggested Nondiscrimination Language|