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

  • 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
  • Timelines For Responding to Reasonable Accommodation Requests   In response to a question, here is a short Fair Housing Act (FHA) primer on the timeline for responding to reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification requests. Under our FHA, “discrimination” includes “a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” Now, to determine if a requested accommodation is “reasonable,” a court will generally consider whether the requested accommodation is (1)... More
  • DOJ Settles Familial Status Fair Housing Act Case for $95,000   Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it settled yet another Fair Housing Act (FHA) case, this time for a total of $95,000. In a case from Washington state, the owners/managers of three apartment buildings resolved a lawsuit claiming that the defendants refused to rent their apartments to families with children in violation of the FHA. The federal action, filed in March 2017, asserted that in March 2014 the defendants told a woman seeking an apartment for her... More
  • Severe Weather and Apartment Management Severe weather hit Texas a couple of weeks ago. And a new storm system is turning toward Florida as I write this post. Real life and real serious. While safety of our residents and employees remains paramount, it is a best professional apartment management company practice to have a hurricane or other severe weather policy to guide employees. These policies aim to protect human life, minimize property loss, and to assist where at all possible. Management will also typically have... More
  • Fair Housing Act Advertising Checklist   As an apartment management staff member, please know that advertising is absolutely a part of our Fair Housing Act (FHA) compliance efforts. Indeed, the FHA specifically has a section which confirms that it is against the law to advertise in such a way as to indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on any of the protected classes the statute. Indeed, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has had advertising regulations in place since 1972. These regulations were... More
  • DOJ Settles Disability Discrimination Fair Housing Act Case for $125,000 Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) resolved a Fair Housing Act (FHA) case against a New York based property management company in which the government asserted the defendants discriminated against a prospective home purchaser on the basis of his disability and by refusing to provide reasonable accommodations as required by law. As contained in a January 2017 complaint, the management company for the housing cooperative rejected the application of an individual seeking to purchase a one bedroom unit because of his... More
  • Issues With Online Emotional Support Animals Medical Verifications   The issue of online medical verifications for emotional support animals (ESA’s) is an ongoing problem for professional apartment management. As written in this space before, we want to approve all legitimate reasonable accommodation requests for our residents who need assistance animals. The key, of course, is “legitimate” – and that is the issue. I now have a number of different clients all working to review and evaluate ESA requests to determine, as best they can, if the medical verifications are... More
  • DOJ Settles Sexual Harassment Fair Housing Act Lawsuit for $600,000 The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it settled a Fair Housing Act (FHA) discrimination lawsuit with the owners/managers of more than 70 residential properties in West Virginia to resolve allegations that the property manager sexually harassed female residents and applicants. Under the terms of the deal, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the defendants will pay a total of $600,000 (that is not a misprint) in damages and... More