A strong online presence is essential for any business. But maintaining legal compliance online can be a challenge, especially for businesses in the field of real estate and property management. Small business owners must be aware of and comply with the various government requirements that govern web pages and social media posts. By learning about some of the most important requirements and how to stay in compliance, business owners can avoid fines and keep themselves and their online materials in line with all local and federal rules.
Two of the most important federal regulations that a property management business owner must comply with are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Equal Housing Opportunity guidelines (EHO). We’ll take a closer look at both of the regulations below.
ADA Compliance Online
When most people think about ADA rules, the first thing that comes to mind are rules that require businesses to make their buildings accessible for people in wheelchairs, those who are visually impaired, and so on. But what many people don’t know is that the ADA requirements also include content on web sites and social media. Businesses regulated by the ADA must still provide “reasonable accessibility” to individuals with disabilities. For example, this may mean creating web content that helps people who are visually impaired or hearing-impaired access it. This could mean providing transcripts for all audio content, ensuring that your web content is easy to navigate, and more. Failing to comply with ADA regulations could result in fines, lawsuits, or other action; hassles that no small business owner wants.
EHO Compliance Online
Similarly, there are specific rules that govern web content under the Fair Housing Act. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has strict web accessibility guidelines for all web content created and distributed by businesses focused on real estate sales and management. Among these requirements is properly including and displaying the Equal Housing Opportunity (EHO) logo on websites, social media content, and any advertising. While HUD provides the logo itself free of charge, it is up to business owners to know when and how to use it. Failing to do so may result in penalties similar to those for violating ADA accessibility guidelines.
With everything else that a business owner must know, proper use of the EHO logo and ADA compliance may not seem like a priority. But the reality is that any independently owned business might be fined or sued, whether the owner was aware of these guidelines or not.
Staying on top of federal requirements for digital content is a big job, and unfortunately, many small independent businesses lack the resources to keep up-to-date. However, by joining the Real Property Management franchise system, an independent business could take advantage of the services we provide for our franchisees. Our team of experts understands how to create and maintain legally compliant web and social media content. We update franchisee websites on a regular basis to ensure ADA compliance. We are regularly assessing our site accessibility, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can access content on franchise websites. We also provide clear EHO logo guidelines for our franchisees, which can help ensure that all of your social media postings are consistently compliant. At Real Property Management, our franchisees are given the support and information they need to post compelling web and social media content with confidence.
Would you like to learn more about what Real Property Management provides its franchisees? Please visit our Tools for Success page for more information.