Blog – Fair Housing Defense

http://fairhousing.foxrothschild.com/

Scott is the founder and editor of the firm's Fair Housing Defense Blog, which offers discussion and insight on fair housing compliance and other areas of interests to apartment owners and management companies as well as professional management employees.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Just Who is Considered “Disabled” Under the Fair Housing Act? Although it comes up most frequently when I review emotional support animal reasonable accommodation requests under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the issue of just who is “disabled” is one for all of us in the professional apartment management field to understand. Under the law, a person is considered as “disabled” when there is a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one of more major life activities, there exists a record of such an impairment, or if the person... More
  • An Annual Guide to Holiday Displays in Apartment Communities December will be here very soon. With the change in the calendar comes Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays. Always a great time for kids and families. Santa Claus. Christmas trees. Menorahs. Decorations. For professional apartment management, however, the question of what to do (or not do) with respect to holiday displays and decorations comes up each year at this time. Leasing office staff members are required to balance the religious and holiday requests of all, while showing a preference to... More
  • Catching Up With Reader Assistance Animal Questions   First, let me go off topic for a minute to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. As I do once a year, I want to give a special shout out to my wife (Hi Sweetie!) to see if she actually reads these posts. Assistance animal questions continue to dominate reader comments here at the Fair Housing Defense blog. As such, let me highlight a handful of points that regularly come up: Breed, size, and weight limitations may not be applied... More
  • Some Thoughts on Live-In Aides and Fair Housing   A Fair Housing Defense blog reader sent me a question about live-in aides which I thought I would answer with some general guidance in a post. First, in order to have a live-in aide, a resident would need to meet the definition of “disabled” (or handicapped) in the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Unless the need for the aide is obvious, management may obtain a medical verification confirming the need for the aide. The live in aide is considered a reasonable accommodation... More
  • DOJ Settles FHA Cases Alleging Sexual Harassment and Announces New Initiative to Fight Sexual Harassment The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it has settled a handful of cases in which plaintiffs made allegations of sexual misconduct under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and resulting discrimination. In one case, DOJ resolved a complaint filed against a Housing Authority in Indiana in which the allegations concerned sexual misconduct and discrimination based on disabilities. Another case, this one from Michigan, also involved allegations of sexual discrimination. Shortly after announcing a resolution of these cases (as well... More
  • What Can Happen if a Builder Only Wants to Sell Homes to Members of One Religion? A real world example of developing a community without knowledge of or procedures to comply with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) is on display in Maryland right now. A developer started work on a community (with just under 60 homes) overlooking a river north of Baltimore. A number of homes were built and some people bought the first group of houses. All good, right? Not so fast. When the developer ran into financial troubles, he stopped working on the partially completed project.... More
  • U.S. District Court Issues Important Emotional Support Animal Medical Verification Opinion I have written in this space (and elsewhere) about the difficulties encountered by professional apartment management companies in the face of emotional support animal medical verifications from residents that are purchased over the internet for the low, low price of $69.99 (or $125 if you need the letter overnight). In an effort to meet the test in the Fair Housing Act (FHA), these form letters note a “disability” or “impairment” which “substantially limits a major life activity” and recommend an... More
  • HUD Resolves Fair Housing Case Against the State of Maryland for $225,000 Pursuant to an agreement announced last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it resolved a discrimination complaint filed by local housing advocacy groups against Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The complaint challenged the fairness of Maryland’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.  As detailed by HUD, the resolution puts forward policies, incentives, and more flexible program rules that are designed to streamline the designation/construction of affordable housing in various neighborhoods in... More
  • Appellate Court Describes Elements of FHA Retaliation Claim   In a case involving the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a new opinion which details the elements of a retaliation cause of action under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The facts involved a special education teacher who was laid off as a result of an unsatisfactory performance review. The teacher challenged her review by defending her teaching methods, not by asserting she was advocating on behalf of any students or... More
  • Bill To Amend the Fair Housing Act Introduced in Congress   In an effort to strengthen protections in the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) against sexual harassment, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan introduced a bill earlier this month to further define sexual harassment and to ensure certain conduct is covered under the law. Specifically, the legislation seeks to amend the FHA to make it easier for victims to bring cases of sexual harassment to court. Under the language in this bill, harassment against a resident would... More