I don’t have enough knowledge, or enough time to do the research required, to put forth a proper opinion piece on any other cabinet choice of our incoming president. I have seen the memes, and I am concerned, but I can only speak to this single appointment. When it comes to the position of HUD Secretary, I dare say I have both knowledge and experience. And, I am concerned.
I have been a real estate licensee since the 1970s. I started off in California, and moved to Nevada decades ago. I’ve been a property manager for a very long time. I have owned property management companies, and am currently the broker-owner of a local Reno/Sparks property management firm, specializing in single-family rental homes in the Reno-Sparks area.
I teach property management and fair housing classes to property managers all over the U.S., a second career I began in 1991. I served 3 terms on the Executive Board of Silver State Fair a housing Council (formerly Truckee Meadows Fair Housing), over several decades.
Fair housing is my passion.
My passion for fair housing derives from two different sources. First, as a real estate licensee, I wanted to have accurate information, to be sure I was conducting myself appropriately in my day-to-day property management business. I didn’t (and don’t) want to be named in a fair housing complaint. And, if I’m ever named in a complaint, I don’t want to risk having to struggle to locate records I cannot produce. That’s a major source of my passion for this subject, and why I got involved with our local fair housing agency, in the first place.
Shortly after I first became involved as a fair housing advocate, I put the pieces together of my own history. After hearing story after story of people being denied housing because of things they could not change, I found myself feeling great empathy for the complainants. I didn’t remember it at first, but I had been there.
I was a single mother of a very young child in the 1980s.
I was also a renter. So many times I cannot recount, I faced discrimination in my attempts to find suitable housing for myself and my daughter. Questions like, “What do you do with your daughter when you’re working?” “How could I rent to a single woman, when I know she’s going to have men in and out of her apartment all the time?” “Who is paying your rent for you?” I was asked these questions repeatedly. Yet, at the time, I was holding a full-time job in my long-term profession of, get this, property management. You might not guess that could happen… a young woman with a responsible career, a good credit rating, and a reliable rental history, discriminated against for something I could not change – the fact I was a single parent, and a female.
Please, if you will, forgive my long lead-in to this post. Here’s what I really want to say:
Ben Carson is the wrong pick for HUD Secretary.
Really wrong. He not only knows little-to-nothing about fair housing law, and the other laws under HUD’s jurisdiction, he believes the Federal Fair Housing Act has ‘gone too far.’
Fair Housing law and principles of equal opportunity are good for my business; they’re good for yours too, if you’re a residential property manager. The more inclusive we can be in offering our rental properties to a broad range of qualified prospects, the quicker we can get our properties rented at fair market rents, to tenants who will pay the rent on time, and take good care of the property. That’s what we want, isn’t it?
As real estate licensees, we must be on the side of supporting fair housing law. It helps us, and it helps our clients and customers. #ItIsUpToUs