October 9, 2015

Dr. Alfred Weinstein and Fair Housing

I just completed a wonderful 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken.

If you like history, this is a great read.  It is about a WWII Army Air Corp B-24 crew in the Pacific.  Their lives before the war, their B-24 and POW experiences, and their lives after the war. Many struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and other challenges.

In one case, the results of spending years in a Japanese POW camp led one veteran to post restrictions in his rental ads.  This is a violation of Fair Housing laws today, but was legal then.

Doctor Alfred Weinstein returned to Atlanta after the war.  He took out a $600k loan and built a 140-unit apartment complex.  His rental ads for the sub $50 monthly rentals included these priorities for applicants:

1) Ex-POWs,
2) Veterans with one or more Purple Hearts,
3) Overseas Veterans,
4) Veterans,
5) And last, Civilians.

His ads further stated:

We prefer Ex-GI's, and Marines and enlisted personnel of the Navy.  
Ex-Air Corps men may apply if they quit telling us how they won the war.

He also banned any KKK members from applying.  This led to threats.  He responded by giving the KKK members his home address and telling them:

I still have my .45.

So an anti-racist, pro-veteran apartment manager who would be sued out of existence with today's Fair Housing laws demonstrates not all restrictions are bad.

Fair Housing is a black cloud over the heads of America's property managers.  Like most laws, it is a big stick that was created to modify the behavior of a few bad eggs.  Ask any property manager today - they want a respectful tenant with a history of paying their bills on time and who will stay for years.  They will tell you this because it is their business, not because of some law from the 1960's.

Dr. Weinstein put limits on his prospective tenants that would violate today's Fair Housing laws.  His example is not consistent with the few Fair Housing issues that we see today - blatant discrimination based on race, religion, gender, etc.  Personally, I think we need more rental ads that deny KKK members the opportunity to apply.  I wouldn't be offended.

A fun story.  A good excuse to add a blog post on the punitive nature of today's laws.  And a good chance to remind property managers that although RentValet is oriented to the tenant-applicant, nearly 90% of our automation is a) built to save the property manager 5-10 hours in the rental application process, and b) built to provide added protections against Fair Housing claims.

RentValet introduces a win-win - saving time and money for landlords and their tenant-applicants.


  1. Just a line to thank the good Doctor for his service to this country. Because of people like Dr. Weinstein is the reason that their generation is considered "The Greatest Generation." Not only was your service during the war heroic but it continued after the war. Again I want to thank the Good Doctor from the bottom of my heart.

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