Fair Housing Regulations Guide for Nashville Property Managers


8/30/20233 min read

The Comprehensive Guide to Property Management in Nashville, TN: Navigating Fair Housing Regulations


Managing properties in Nashville, Tennessee, comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. One of the most critical aspects that property managers must understand is the Fair Housing Act and its implications. This comprehensive guide aims to cover all facets of fair housing regulations, from the protected classes to other lesser-known but equally important aspects.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on specific protected classes. It applies to all aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, from advertising to eviction. Understanding this law is crucial for property managers to ensure compliance and avoid legal repercussions.

Protected Classes Under the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination based on the following classes:

1. Race: Discrimination based on ethnicity or race is prohibited.

2. Color: This refers to the color of one's skin.

3. Religion: Landlords cannot discriminate based on religious beliefs.

4. Sex: This includes gender discrimination and also covers sexual harassment.

5. National Origin: Discrimination based on the country of origin is illegal.

6. Familial Status: This includes families with children under 18 and pregnant women.

7. Disability: This includes both physical and mental disabilities.

Additional Aspects of Fair Housing Regulations


"Steering" refers to the practice of guiding prospective tenants towards or away from certain neighborhoods or properties based on any of the protected classes. This is considered discriminatory and is prohibited under fair housing laws.


Blockbusting is an illegal practice where property managers or owners try to induce the sale of a property by suggesting that a neighborhood is undergoing a change in the composition of its residents, particularly in terms of race or ethnicity.


Redlining involves lenders refusing to provide loans or insurance to properties in certain areas based on the racial or ethnic composition of those areas. While this is more relevant to lenders, property managers should be aware of it to understand the broader context of housing discrimination.

Harassment and Retaliation

Harassment of tenants based on any of the protected classes is illegal. Additionally, retaliation against tenants for filing a discrimination complaint is also prohibited.

Accessibility Requirements

For buildings with four or more units built after March 13, 1991, there are specific accessibility requirements. These include accessible entrances, wider doors, and amenities that can be adapted for use by persons with disabilities.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

This is a legal requirement for federal agencies and federal grantees to actively work to overcome historic patterns of segregation and promote fair housing choice. Property managers should be aware of any local initiatives or grants that are part of AFFH.

Disparate Impact

This legal doctrine holds that practices may be considered discriminatory if they have a disproportionate "adverse impact" on members of a protected class, even if the discrimination was not intentional.

Section 8 Housing

While not a protected class under federal law, many states and local jurisdictions, including Nashville, have laws that prohibit discrimination against tenants who receive Section 8 or other forms of housing assistance.

Best Practices for Compliance

Education and Training

Regular training on fair housing laws can help property managers and their staff stay compliant. Many local real estate associations offer training sessions and resources.


Keeping detailed records of all interactions with tenants can provide a defense in case of a discrimination claim. This includes records of applications, lease agreements, and any correspondence.

Legal Consultation

It's advisable to consult with a real estate attorney familiar with fair housing laws to review your policies, contracts, and procedures.

Regular Audits

Conduct regular audits of your practices, advertisements, and tenant interactions to ensure compliance with all aspects of fair housing laws.

Tenant Surveys

Consider conducting anonymous surveys among your tenants to gauge whether they feel there are any discriminatory practices or attitudes in your properties.

Community Outreach

Engage in community outreach to understand the needs and concerns of various groups within your tenant population. This can help you preemptively address issues that could otherwise lead to discrimination complaints.


Understanding and complying with fair housing laws is not just a legal requirement but also a moral obligation for property managers. By treating all tenants fairly and equally, property managers not only protect themselves from legal issues but also contribute to a more inclusive community. By following this comprehensive guide, property managers in Nashville, TN, can navigate the complexities of fair housing regulations and ensure a fair and equitable environment for all their tenants.