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

  • Dr. Ben Carson Has His Senate Confirmation Hearing to Become the Next HUD Secretary. Here is How it Went. Yesterday, Dr. Ben Carson had his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which is considering his nomination to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Many of us interested in federal housing policy were curious to hear what Dr. Carson had to say concerning the Fair Housing Act as well as any HUD initiatives as what he has previously said either disagrees with or does not address many... More
  • Here Are The Top Ten Fair Housing Defense Blog Posts From 2016 Time for my favorite Fair Housing Defense blog post of the year.  With apologies to David Letterman, here are the Top Ten entries from 2016, as calculated by the number of reads (yes, my law firm tracks everything).  You can click on any entry to read the post: #1: DOJ Settles Another Familial Status Fair Housing Act Case — This Time for $100,000 (February 26, 2016) #2: Colorado House Passes Bill To Criminalize False Service/Companion Animal Requests (April 1, 2016) #3: First... More
  • Here is a Short Management/Resident Checklist When Entering Into a Residential Lease With the end of 2016 in sight, I thought this might be a good time for a short landlord/tenant checklist concerning important issues that management and residents should understand when dealing with a residential lease: What is the lease term? One year? Six months? Month-to-month? Another term? How is the lease extended? What is the notice to vacate procedure? What are the deadlines? What additional costs (if any) are not included in the monthly rent? Application fee? Parking? Electric? Trash? Water? And... More
  • Does A Resident Need a “Disability” in Order to Qualify for a Service or Emotional Support Animal? I had three clients in three states (one near the Pacific Ocean, one in the Midwest, and one in the middle Atlantic) all reach out to me with a variation of the same question concerning service and/or companion animals: what happens if the resident is not disabled but still seeks an emotional support animal? Does management have to approve that request? The fact pattern typically comes up when a resident or an applicant submits a reasonable accommodation request. And that accommodation... More
  • DOJ Settles Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Case for $350,000 Plus Retrofits Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that developers of six multi-family housing communities in Mississippi agreed to pay $350,000 to resolve claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by building apartment homes that were inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the defendants promised to make any number of retrofits (including eliminating steps, making bathrooms more usable, installing curb ramps and parking, constructing... More
  • Changes in Federal Housing Policy with a New Administration? I try to avoid partisan politics here at the Fair Housing Defense Blog. As we have seen over the past year (and particularly over the past month), emotions on both sides can run hot. Nevertheless, I have had a couple of Blog readers ask my opinion about what President-elect Trump will mean for those of us in the professional apartment management world. The answer is: we don’t know. This morning, the President-elect announced that he would nominate Dr. Ben Carson to... More
  • Here Come the Holidays: What to do about Decorations in Apartment Communities? Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror. Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays will be here sooner than we think. 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
  • DOJ Files New Fair Housing Act Disability Discrimination Action A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a new Fair Housing Act (FHA) lawsuit against the owner, builder, and designer of a housing complex near Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. In the complaint, the DOJ asserts that the apartment-style homes were constructed without complying with the FHA’s accessibility requirements. The lawsuit states that each of three buildings on the property have nine individually keyed units with their own bathroom and desk as well as... More
  • Can a Property Owner Disclaim Responsibility for Complying With Accessibility Guidelines? In addition to renting units, many apartment owners/managers rent space for commercial enterprises (such as restaurants and stores) in their properties. Which can make good sense for both – providing a needed service or store with a ready-made group of people living extremely close by. All good, right? But, remember that when you lease space to a commercial vendor and that tenant modifies the space for a restaurant and/or shop – make sure that the renovated site conforms with the accessibility... More
  • Exemptions to the Fair Housing Act? Here Are a Few. But Most Professional Apartment Communities Will Need to Comply With the Law In response to regular requests, here is a summary of when the Fair Housing Act (FHA) may not be applicable. Again, if you are a professional property management company or employee, it is extremely likely the FHA (as well as state, city, and/or county anti-discrimination laws) applies. Nevertheless, here are some guidelines: The FHA does not generally apply to small owner-occupied buildings (a property with four or less units) when the owner resides in one of the units. This is referred... More