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National apartment association education institute certified apartment property supervisor

National Apartment Association Education Institute

Certified Apartment Property Supervisor

Legal Responsibilities and Risk Management





Cellular Phones





  • Name

  • Company

  • Number of Units

  • How Many Years In the Business

  • Two sentences about what you think about Law and Risk in your job

Ground rules

Participate fully.

Help us stay on track.

Have fun.

Ground Rules

Learning outcomes legal responsibilities and risk

  • Apartment Communities and the Law

  • Hiring Employees Lawfully

  • Establishing Workplace Guidelines

  • Counseling, Disciplining, and Terminating Employees

  • Ensuring Workplace Health and Safety

  • Observing Rental Laws

  • Maintaining Habitable Properties

  • Working with Contractors and Contracts

  • Managing Risk

  • Current Legal Trends

Learning Outcomes: Legal Responsibilities and Risk

2 apartment communities and the law

2. Apartment Communities and The Law

Laws and legal obligations

Laws exist to protect people’s rights. As a multi-property supervisor, you need to be aware of those rights for employees and residents—and see that the community management teams comply with the rule and the spirit of the law.

Failure to follow local, state, and federal laws can potentially put the company and the properties into serious legal jeopardy.

Laws and Legal Obligations

Fair credit reporting act fcra

  • When conducting background checks on employees or applicants, you must notify them and get their permission to obtain a credit report.

  • If the employee or applicant is not hired based on something in his or her report, you must provide

    • the contact information for the Credit Reporting Agency, and

    • a Statement of FCRA Rights

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Fair and accurate credit transaction act facta

  • Extends the FCRA

  • Addresses consumer concerns about identity theft

  • Addresses in more depth the procedure for inaccuracies in consumer reports

  • Gives the consumer the right to restrict how businesses use their non-public personal information

Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)

Title vii of the civil rights act of 1964 as amended

In all stages of employment you may not discriminate based on:





National origin

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as Amended

Age discrimination in employment act adea

  • Prohibits employment discrimination to applicants or employees who are 40 or older

  • Applies to employers with 20 or more employees

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Title i of the americans with disabilities act ada

  • Prohibits employment discrimination against disabled applicants or employees who can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation

  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Fair labor standards act flsa

Sets requirements for minimum wage and overtime eligibility

Regulates child labor

Applies to employers with 2 or more employees

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Equal pay act

  • Requires employers to pay equal wages to male and female employees who perform similar work (equal skill, effort, responsibility)

  • Applies to employers with 2 or more employees

Equal Pay Act

Family medical leave act fmla

  • Requires employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for:

    • Birth or adoption

    • Employee’s serious health condition

    • To care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Occupational safety and health act osha

  • Requires employers to have a safety program to protect employees from hazards

  • Requires information to be accessible to employees about hazardous materials they may use

  • Requires periodic safety training

  • Requires documentation of workplace injuries

Occupational Safety and Health Act(OSHA)

Immigration reform and control act irca

Prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin or citizenship status

Requires the processing of an I-9 form to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens

Applies to employers with 3 or more employees

Immigration Reform and Control Act(IRCA)

National labor relations act nlra

  • Regulates the labor management relationship

  • Prohibits discrimination based on union activity

  • Applies to private sector employers that have an impact on interstate commerce

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Uniformed services employment and reemployment rights act userra

  • Prohibits employment discrimination because of an applicant’s or employee’s military obligations

  • Requires employers to reinstate employees to their former jobs after honorably completing military duty

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Jury systems improvement act

Prohibits an employer from disciplining or terminating an employee for being called to serve on a federal jury

Jury Systems Improvement Act

Employment polygraph protection act

  • Prohibits employers from requiring applicants to submit to a polygraph exam

  • Applies to private sector employers except:

    • Security firms, and

    • Pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and dispensers

Employment Polygraph Protection Act

Federal posting requirements

  • Notices about federal laws must be posted where employees can see them such as:

    • Near time clocks

    • In break rooms

    • In designated department locations

  • Some states require notices to be in more than one language (e.g., Spanish) so be aware of your state’s requirement.

Federal Posting Requirements

What is negligence

  • Management

    • was legally responsible for the “control area”

    • failed to repair the “system and/or property damage” or a problem that caused the injury.

    • knew or should have known that an accident was likely to happen in the area.

    • could have sharply reduced the chances of an accident with reasonable attention to the maintenance or repair problem.

  • Negligence is governed by Common Law

What is Negligence?

Activity what is your experience

Activity: What is Your Experience?

3 hiring employees lawfully

3. Hiring Employees lawfully

Job descriptions

  • List core tasks and accountabilities for the job.

  • Maintain objectivity and provide a useful standard by which to fairly evaluate all candidates who apply.

  • Strong legal defense tool

  • Resources for writing job descriptions:



Job Descriptions

Background checks

  • References

  • Credit Checks

  • Driving Records

  • Criminal History

  • Employment Eligibility (Legal to Work in the United States)

  • Skills Testing

  • Drug Testing (after conditional offer)

  • Medical Exams (after conditional offer)

Background checks

Contacting past employers

  • Offer to send the applicant’s signed consent to a full disclosure of employment information

  • Typical Questions:

    • What are the applicant’s greatest strengths?

    • What are his or her greatest opportunities?

    • Would you hire this person again?

  • Confirm salary, title, dates of employment

Contacting Past Employers


Prepare questions in advance

Use only acceptable questions!

Ask all applicants the same questions (use of an interview guide is recommended)

Ask only job related questions

Keep application forms and employment records for at least one year


When extending conditional offers

Restate the “at will” employment relationship.

Give a written list of job duties.

Give a written offer of pay and benefits.

Refer to the employee handbook that includes company policies.

Provide a document for the employee to sign and accept the job offer.

WHEN Extending Conditional Offers,

At will means

The employee works at the will of the employer.

The employer can terminate the employee at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all (but not for discriminatory reasons).

The employee is free to quit at any time.

“At Will” Means…

Activity what is your experience with hiring employees

Activity: what Is Your Experience with Hiring Employees?

4 establishing workplace guidelines

4. Establishing Workplace Guidelines

Complying with flsa

  • Minimum Wage – know the current federal and state minimum wage

  • Overtime - Covered non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week

  • Recordkeeping –

    • Keep employee time and pay records.

    • Display posters outlining the requirements of the FLSA - federal and state labor posters as well.

Complying with FLSA

Establishing clear and legal rules

Setting High Standards

Maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace

Maintaining a Harassment-Free Workplace

Use an Employee Handbook to Further Outline These Policies

Establishing Clear and Legal Rules

Suggested employee handbook topics

Suggested Employee Handbook Topics

  • Introduction

  • Hours

  • Pay and Salaries

  • Benefits

  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse

  • Harassment

  • Attendance

  • Discipline

  • Employee Safety

  • Smoking

  • Complaints

  • Workplace civility

  • Conduct not covered by the handbook

New employee orientation

New Employee Orientation

  • Company culture and history

  • How the company (or apartment community) is organized, in terms of work teams and functions

  • Workplace rules

  • Health and safety rules

  • Pay and benefits

  • Work schedules

  • And anything else relevant to working in the community

Why conduct performance reviews

  • Employees will know what you expect of them and will receive feedback on their work.

  • You can recognize and reward good employees

  • You can identify and coach workers who are having trouble.

  • You will stay in touch with the needs, concerns, and problems of employees.

  • You can identify potential problems earlier.

  • Performance reviews can help keep future legal problems to a minimum by helping track and document employee issues.

WHY Conduct performance reviews?

Activity discuss experiences with workplace rules

Activity: Discuss Experiences with Workplace Rules

5 counseling disciplining terminating

5. Counseling, Disciplining, & Terminating

Topics to include in a counseling meeting

Your expectations of how the job should be performed

How the employee is currently performing

Critical element(s) where the employee is failing or falling short

What the employee must do to bring performance to an acceptable level

Topics To Include in a Counseling Meeting

Sample progressive discipline

SAMPLE Progressive Discipline

Seven steps disciplining employees

Seven Steps - Disciplining Employees

Terminating employees

  • Provide a private office or area.

  • Include a peer as a witness to the meeting.

  • Have the final paycheck prepared in advance, including any benefits, vacation, or severance pay if required by state law.

  • Keep accurate and detailed documentation of the termination meeting.

  • Represent the company in a professional, ethical, and honest manner.

Terminating Employees

Activity discuss your experience with counseling and terminating employees

Activity: Discuss Your Experience with Counseling and Terminating Employees

6 ensuring workplace health and safety

6. Ensuring Workplace Health And Safety

Hazard communication standard

This protocol must educate employees on:

  • Hazardous chemicals they work with

  • How to use them properly

  • How to avoid potential accidents or injuries

Hazard Communication Standard

Hazard communication standard compliance

Hazard Communication Standard Compliance

  • Hazard Evaluation

  • Labeling

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

  • Written Plan

  • Training Programs

Legal responsibilities and risk management

Material Safety Data Sheets-


Hazardous Ingredients or Components

Physical and Chemicals Characteristics

Fire and Explosion Hazard

Reactivity Data

Health Hazard Data

Spill or Leak Procedures

Special Protection

Special Precautions


Lockout tagout procedures

  • Must be a written procedure

  • Must be accessible to employees at all times

  • Must establish contractor responsibilities

  • Must establish annual auditing procedures

  • Must establish an inventory of hazardous energy sources and procedures to de-energize them

  • Must provide for training and retraining

Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Potential hazardous energy sources

  • Electrical

  • Hydraulic

  • Pneumatic

  • Chemical

  • Mechanical

  • Thermal

Potential Hazardous Energy Sources

Bloodborne pathogen standard

Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

OSHA’s exposure control program for dealing with the control of bloodborne pathogens in the workplace, including Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV)

Exposure control plan

  • Must be written

  • Must include exposure determination

  • Must have procedure for post exposure evaluation and follow-up

  • Must be trained to employees

Exposure Control Plan

Legal responsibilities and risk management

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment

OSHA requires the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure to hazards in the workplace.

Items such as:

  • Goggles & Safety Glasses

  • Gloves & Foot Protection

  • Hearing Protection

  • Respirators & Dust Masks

  • Personal Fall Protection

  • Aprons

  • Hard Hats and Face Shields

Personal Protective Equipment

Electrical safety training program

Electrical Safety Training Program

Employers must have a written training program for employees who perform electrical service and maintenance on the property, including those who assist with the work.

This includes minor electrical repair and maintenance tasks, such as changing ballasts in overhead lights or replacing simple switches.

Osha inspections


Inspect and investigate any facility, equipment, and records mandated by the regulations

Interview and observe personnel

Observe areas that aren’t covered by the employer’s consent or the inspection.

OSHA Inspections

Osha recordkeeping

OSHA Recordkeeping

  • Injury and illness records for the past five years.

  • All written programs outlined.

  • OSHA Form 300A posted annually.

  • OSHA poster displayed.

  • Documentation of all training and written assessments.

  • Medical and exposure records.

Employee safety beyond the law

EMPLOYEE Safety Beyond The Law

  • Speedy deposit of checks and money orders

  • “No Cash Accepted” sign in the rental office.

  • Review personal safety policies and procedures at staff meetings.

  • Use cell phones, walkie-talkies, or a two-way radio system to stay in contact with the office or other staff members.

  • Keep the entrance to an apartment home open during a showing.

  • Bring someone along when showing an apartment late in the business day or when dark.

  • Carry a small alarm device, such as a whistle or clip-on siren.

  • Work on empty apartments only during the day unless accompanied by someone else.

  • When the resident is not home, lock the apartment while performing maintenance or repairs. Do the same in vacant apartments.

Activity discuss your experience with employee safety

Activity: Discuss Your Experience with Employee Safety

7 observing rental laws

7. Observing Rental Laws

Rental laws affecting multifamily

Rental Laws Affecting Multifamily

Complying with the fair housing act

  • A fair housing policy that describes its fair housing practices, including any requirements relating to occupancy guidelines, income, and credit and rental histories.

  • Include state, county and city compliance laws as well.

  • All policies must be clearly displayed in the business office

  • Training and re-training for all staff members must occur.

Complying with The Fair Housing Act

Proactive fair housing

  • Display Fair Housing posters where they can be seen easily by prospective renters and residents.

    • The minimum size required by law is 11” x 14”.

  • Train employees on the Fair Housing Act when they begin their employment with the company.

  • Provide refresher training on an annual basis.

  • Monitor employee compliance by using “mystery” shoppers.

Proactive Fair housing

Renting to persons with diabilities

Under the Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities are promised "equal enjoyment of housing." That means they can ask for reasonable modifications and accommodations to give them equal accessibility to all features and benefits of the rental community and its policies.

Renting to Persons with Diabilities

What is a disability

According to the Fair Housing Act, an individual has a disability if he or she has a condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Physical, visual, hearing, or mobility impairments

  • Alcoholism

  • Mental illness

  • AIDS or AIDS-related complex

What is a Disability?

Reasonable accommodations modifications

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

  • Allowing a service or therapy animal to live in a community with a “no pets” policy

  • Reminding a person with a developmental disability that the rent is due the next day

  • Providing a sign language interpreter for meeting a resident who has a hearing impairment

    Examples of Reasonable Modifications

  • Installing a ramp

  • Installing grab bars in the bathroom

  • Widening doorways

Reasonable Accommodations & Modifications

Multifamily housing post 1991

If your multifamily housing was first occupied after March 13, 1991, It must comply with these seven design requirements for new construction:

Multifamily Housing Post 1991

Handling evictions types of notice

Handling Evictions – Types of Notice

Entering a residence

Emergency Entry

Entry for Requested Repairs

Entry for Scheduled Repairs

Entry for Law Enforcement and Government Officials

Official Entry

Denied Entry

Entering a residence

Activity discuss your experience with rental laws

Activity: Discuss Your Experience with Rental Laws

8 maintaining habitable properties

8. Maintaining Habitable Properties

Assuring quality habitability

  • Protect from weather

  • Provide working water, heat, air conditioning, plumbing, electric, and lighting

  • Provide adequate waste disposal

  • Provide clean and safe common areas

  • Provide reasonable protection from hazards and crime

  • Address potential environmental hazards

  • Control all other nuisances

Assuring Quality habitability

Understanding environmental safety

Understanding Environmental Safety

Deterring crime

  • Be aware of crime in the area

  • Work with law enforcement

  • Educate residents about safety

  • Establish and execute key control procedures

  • Stay on top of safety measures

  • Inspect regularly – Doors, Locks, Lighting, Landscaping, etc.

  • Conduct background checks on employees

Deterring Crime

Activity discuss your experience with habitability laws and issues

Activity: Discuss your experience with Habitability Laws and Issues

9 working with contractors and contracts

9. Working with Contractors and Contracts

Creating procedures for service and supply bids

Creating Procedures for Service and Supply Bids

Scope of work

Scope of Work

Obtaining bids for contracted work

Obtaining Bids For Contracted Work

Elements of a contract

Key Information (Parties, Location, Date, etc.)

Scope of Work

General Waiver and Release

Hold Harmless

Settlement and Release Agreement

Payment Terms and Penalties

Signatures and Authorizations

Elements of A contract

Activity discuss your experiences with contractors and contracts

Activity: Discuss your Experiences with Contractors and Contracts

10 managing risk

10. Managing Risk

Five steps to developing a risk management program

Five Steps to Developing a Risk Management Program

Areas of risk

Areas of Risk

Evaluating and prioritizing risks

Evaluating and Prioritizing Risks

Implement a plan

Implement a Plan

Financing risk with insurance

Property Insurance

Liability Insurance

Vehicle Insurance

Workers Compensation Insurance

Professional Insurance

Self-Insurance – Retention of Risk


Financing Risk With Insurance

Types of incidents to report


General Liability

Property Damage

Workers Compensation



ADH or FHA Claims

Types of Incidents To Report

Review evaluate and adjust

Review Evaluate and Adjust

Managing a crisis

Communicating with Others

Responding to Crime

Taking Care of Resident Relations

Dealing with the Media

Moving to Recovery

Managing a Crisis

Activity discuss your experiences with risk and crisis management

Activity: Discuss your experiences with risk and Crisis Management

11 current legal trends

11. Current Legal Trends

Current legal trends

  • The Fair Housing Act

    • Discrimination against persons with disabilities

    • Non-traditional forms of discrimination

    • “Hidden” Forms of Discrimination

    • Accessibility

    • Source of Income

    • Linguistic Profiling

    • The Violence Women Act (VAWA)

    • Exclusionary Zoning Ordinances

Current Legal Trends

Current legal trends1

  • Communications Issues

    • Exclusive Cable Agreements

    • Can-Spam Regulations

  • Residential Green Building Standards

  • Non-Smoking Policies

  • Freon Recovery and R410a

  • ADA Amendments Act of 2010

  • LBP Renovators Rule

Current legal Trends

Activity discuss your experiences with recent legal trends

Activity: Discuss your Experiences with Recent Legal Trends

12 key takeaways and action plan

12. Key takeaways and Action Plan

Legal responsibilities and risk management

  • Apartment Communities and the Law

  • Hiring Employees Lawfully

  • Establishing Workplace Guidelines

  • Counseling, Disciplining, and Terminating Employees

  • Ensuring Workplace Health and Safety

  • Observing Rental Laws

  • Maintaining Habitable Properties

  • Working with Contractors and Contracts

  • Managing Risk

  • Current Legal Trends

Learning Outcomes: Legal Responsibilities and Risk

The action plan

This plan is yours and yours alone

You decide on the leadership areas you want to work on

You set the number of goals

You decide on the action steps and timeline.

The Action Plan

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