Blog – Fair Housing Defense

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

  • COVID-19 and Housing Eviction Proceedings With just a few days left in May, apartment owners, management companies, and residents are set to deal with another month of rents due in a global pandemic. The good news (I hope) is that states are starting the process of opening again with social distancing. The belief is that many employees who were furloughed or let go because of the shutdown will have jobs to come back to so they can pay their rent. A real concern, however, is... More
  • HUD Settles Disability Discrimination Fair Housing Act Case for $80,000 In a press release issued last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved a settlement agreement concluding a disability housing discrimination complaint against the owners and property managers at a community in Pennsylvania. The total amount to be paid by the Respondents is $80,000. In their complaint, two residents asserted that management failed to approve their reasonable accommodation requests for a reserved parking space, did not permit them to transfer to a first floor home, and... More
  • Conciliation and the Fair Housing Act Although the economic and personal impact of the global pandemic continues to dominate the headlines, I am seeing HUD (as well as various state, city, and county agencies) ramping up efforts on pending housing discrimination complaints. As a part of the Fair Housing Act, investigators are dual tasked when a complaint is filed: (1) to investigate; and (2) to conciliate (legalese for attempt to settle). Sometimes the process goes on at the same time. Sometimes we will try conciliation prior... More
  • How The Next Set of Pandemic Relief Efforts May Impact The Apartment Management Industry The United States Congress (as well as any number of state, city, and county legislatures) have been at work on various pandemic relief efforts (as they should be).  As these efforts go forward, the apartment management industry needs to be aware the next set of legislative initiatives that might, for example, mandate that property owners accept rent payment plans as well as change how community amenities are paid for by residents. For example, in an effort to help residents impacted by... More
  • COVID-19: May 2020 Rent and Other Questions For many Americans who live in apartment homes, rent for May 2020 is due tomorrow. As noted earlier this month, a best guess is that around 70% of residents made their April 2020 rent payments on time. That is, of course, a lower number than we would have expected under normal circumstances as each week we read that millions of more Americans filed for new unemployment benefits. Here are some of the questions I have received over the past few... More
  • HUD Settles California Sexual Harassment Fair Housing Case for $63,000 I will get back to how the pandemic is impacting the professional apartment management industry in my next post, but I wanted to note that at the end of March, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it settled a fair housing discrimination action from California in which allegations of sexual misconduct were raised against the owner and manager of a property for a total of $63,000. The settlement also involved concluding three other matters with... More
  • COVID-19: Communicate With Your Residents About Rent and Financial Circumstances As I type this from my basement office, reports are that somewhere between 25% to 33% of renters did not pay their full monthly rent on or about April 1. That is, of course, a significantly higher figure than any other month to my memory. Leasing office team members from California to Florida are working with individual residents on a one by one basis in an effort to meet their needs. I have heard from management companies noting they are... More
  • COVID-19: Reasonable Accommodation or Compassionate Medical Termination I have heard from two clients with variations on what I suspect may be the next type of request professional apartment management receives from residents during this time of the Coronavirus: a request to terminate a lease early (without penalty) because a resident is vulnerable to catching the virus. The request will be couched as one for a reasonable accommodation and it might well be verified by a health care practitioner. As written here and elsewhere, a prerequisite to have a... More
  • HUD Awards $40 Million in Fair Housing Grants Most likely lost in the COVID-19 news obviously dominating the world right now, last week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it awarded $40 million to various fair housing organizations across the nation to test compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its state law counterparts. The money was provided through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) to help people who believe they have been victims... More
  • April 1 — Rent Is Due and What to Do? With the worldwide pandemic set to extend to a new month, both renters and property owners will face new challenges on April 1 – the day when most rents are due. Leasing offices and management companies across the country are bracing for a significant increase in the inability of residents to pay their rent. Like so much else with the Coronavirus, we are making decisions in real time, following ever changing daily orders/decisions from federal, state, and local governments. Here... More