Almost all apartment communities have this policy. Landlords and property management companies prohibit soliciting to prevent the public from entering their apartment buildings to make requests, such as attempting to sell something or asking for a donation from tenants. So when a field representative for the U.S. Census Bureau asks a property manager for entry into an apartment building to conduct a census survey, the first reaction by a property manager is probably to deny entry due to the policy of no soliciting. Under federal law, however, an owner, proprietor, manager, superintendent, or agent of an apartment house must allow a field representative from the U.S. Census Bureau entry into the apartment building to conduct the census survey. Failure to do so may result in a $500.00 fine.
A field representative is supposed to have a badge from the U.S. Census Bureau stating his/her name and should also be carrying a bag that has a laptop computer inside of it. If the field representative provides the property manager with a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau asking to allow the field representative to conduct the survey, the letter should state the name of the field representative and the address of the units to be surveyed.
If the property manager isn’t sure if the person claiming to be a field representative is actually working for the U.S. Census Bureau, the property manager can do the following:
- Request to see the field representative’s badge and make a photocopy of it.
- Request the name and telephone number of the field representative’s regional office and call the regional office to confirm the identity of the field representative and the address of the apartment units being surveyed.
If you ever have any questions or need assistance when visited by a field representative from the U.S. Census Bureau, consult an attorney at the Goosmann Law Firm.