There may be many valid reasons landlords prefer one technology over another with help locating the ‘perfect,’ solid tenant who pays on time, keeps the property in order and will stay the full duration of the term. However, another factor one should consider is reducing risk by only advertising on widely used platforms. Reliance on social media should be limited to the greatest extent possible.
The Dangers of Social Media
Avoiding discrimination is in everyone’s interest. Among other things, one of the (many) hot-button issues of the day is avoiding the appearance of preference based on protected categories (race, religion, age, sex, disability, etc.). Preventing costly lawsuits and avoiding being ‘labeled’ on social media are two good reasons. Baron also would add that practicing basic ethics and equity in good citizenship would be a third.
In August of 2018, the Federal Housing Authority filed a suit against Facebook for housing discrimination.
Among other things, landlords were leveraging the platform to (intentionally, unintentionally) publicize to only certain groups. On the face of this, this may not appear to be anything illegal. However, HUD argument focuses on the selected-advertising itself as a violation of fair housing laws.
Where to Market Rental Properties
Baron recommends that each landlord review marketing to prospective tenants. Due to the loosening of real estate regulations, allowing public access to MLS listings in 2010, many services are open. Some sources are exclusive to various communities, so cast a wide net. Among those free MLS services which cast an extensive net include:
- GoSection8.Com (for LLs who accept vouchers)
- AHRN – locates prospective military tenants
Baron Property Management has also used other free services:
Craigslist (seems crazy, but even for mid to high ranged rentals, this free site gets results)
Rental Advertising to Avoid
BPM advises caution using social media sites–specifically ones that screen ads or where photos are displayed
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