Fair Housing

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Fair Housing Testing – Understanding How it Works

            Fair housing testing was first approved by the Supreme Court in 1982. The purpose of fair housing testing is to determine the likelihood that illegal housing discrimination is occurring. How Does Testing Work?             The testing process often begins…

Major Fair Housing Settlement in Housing Accessibility Case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled a major fair housing and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit against Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc., and Mid-America Apartments, LP for $11.3 million to resolve allegations that these owners failed to build 50…

Exotic Emotional Support Animals – Court Case

The decision in a recent court case indicates that local laws against certain animals may not violate fair housing law. The case is Bauhman v. City of Elkhart, TX, March 2018. Facts of the Case 1. The city of Elkhart…

Update on Criminal Screening for Occupancy

A recent fair housing settlement in New York City illustrates the importance of having screening policies for criminal records that only screen for criminal behavior that presents an actual threat to people or property. A New York City property management…

Occupancy Standards and Fair Housing

Every owner and manager of multifamily properties must develop occupancy standards for their property. It is these standards that determine how many people may live in a unit. When deciding on an occupancy standard, the key question is always –…

Environmental Issues Relating to Fair Housing

As we all know, the environment in which we live can impact our health and well-being. Bad water and bad air are known causes of health problems. What often goes unnoticed however is the environment within buildings – including homes.…

HUD Lodges Fair Housing Complaint Against Facebook

On August 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced a formal complaint against Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.…

ADA Service Animal Guidance May be Instructive for Housing Providers

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that state and local government agencies and non-profits that provide goods or services to the public make “reasonable modifications” in policies, practices, or procedures when needed to accommodate persons with disabilities. This requirement…

Website Accessibility

In recent years, there has been a spate of litigation relating to website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA provides that no person shall be discriminated against in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods,…

Emotional Support Animals – How “Necessary” Are They?

Every apartment manager is familiar with “Emotional Support Animals,” or “ESAs.” I would venture to say there are very few multi-family communities in existence today that don’t have at least one resident with an ESA. And my experience has shown…

The State of Fair Housing – 2018

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has published “Making Every Neighborhood a Place of Opportunity,” a report on the condition of fair housing in the United States in 2018. As much as anything else, the report highlights the Department of…

HUD-DOJ Initiative to Fight Sexual Harassment in Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have begun a nationwide initiative intended to combat sexual harassment in housing. This effort includes an interagency task force between HUD and DOJ, an outreach toolkit,…

DOJ Announces New Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative

On October 19, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing. The initiative specifically seeks to increase DOJ efforts to protect women from harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers,…

Limited English Proficiency and Fair Housing

I recently came across a situation where an owner of a multifamily property had a policy of requiring that all applicants be able to communicate in English in order to apply for occupancy at the property. After discussing the issue…

Fees for Assistance Animals – Settlement Agreement, June 2017

On June 9, 2017, HUD entered approved a settlement agreement between a Nevada fair housing organization and the owner and manager of four apartment complexes in Reno, NV. The agreement settles allegations of housing discrimination against disabled residents with assistance…

Liability Under the Fair Housing Act

In many of my fair housing classes, the question often arises as to who is liable for a violation of fair housing law. The question is asked both my managers (who wonder if they can be held personally liable) and…

National Origin – Still a Protected Class

Despite all the hyperbolic language regarding Muslim bans swamping the airways and newspapers, individuals are still protected from housing discrimination on the basis of their national origin. Recent efforts by the new administration to control entry into the United States…

Occupancy Standards – Recommendations and Best Practices

All communities should have occupancy standards to prevent overcrowding of units. In the case of federally assisted properties, the standards should also prevent underutilization of space.   A primary goal of any occupancy standard should be to ensure that it…

Participation of Faith-Based Organizations in HUD Programs

I received a call recently regarding the rights of a faith-based organization operating an apartment community when HUD funding is present at the community. The issue is important enough that I believe other clients may benefit from a general review…

Compliance with HUD Live-in Aide Rules

Compliance with HUD Live-in Aide Rules   Allowing a Live-in Aide for a disabled person is both a HUD and fair housing requirement.   The definition of a live-in aide is a person who resides with one or more elderly…
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