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

  • Top Ten Fair Housing Defense Blog Posts from 2019 My first (and favorite) Fair Housing Defense blog post of the year.  With apologies to David Letterman, here are the Top Ten read posts from 2019.  Yes, my Firm keeps count. When I started this blog (quite a few years ago now), I thought only my family (Hi Sweetie!) and a couple of friends would read it.  Turns out, we have found a space that works for quite a few people.  For which I am exceedingly grateful.  Here is the list... More
  • DOJ Files Sexual Harassment FHA Complaint in Ohio Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint in federal court asserting that a housing provider in Ohio violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by sexually harassing a number of female tenants (for more than a decade) at various rental properties in and around Toledo.  DOJ noted that this complaint is the 12th case the Department has filed asserting a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing since 2017. The lawsuit alleges that from at least... More
  • Holiday Thoughts on December 24 Once a year (or so), I go a bit off topic here at the Fair Housing Defense blog.  This week feels like the right time to (in no particular order): *Say Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) to people you see on the street. *Leave work a little early and take a second to hug your son or daughter. *Go a little out of your way and do something nice for someone you don’t know. *We all spend too much time staring down at our... More
  • Religious Discrimination Fair Housing Case Settles for $40,000 Just this week, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced that it settled a housing discrimination case involving a condominium owner who alleged her homeowners association and management company violated the law by refusing to permit the resident to display a mezuzah (a small religious object placed on the door of many Jewish homes in fulfillment of a religious obligation) on her unit door. The condo association took the position that the mezuzah violated the condominium’s conditions and... More
  • A Holiday Decoration Guide For Apartment Management With the calendar firmly in December, I have now received multiple requests from Fair Housing Defense blog readers (thank you for checking in) for my annual apartment community holiday decoration guide. How do we respect the Christmas celebrations of some, Hanukkah beliefs of others, as well as festive traditions of various other cultures? Can we put up decorations involving Santa Claus? What about Christmas trees? Rudolph? Menorahs? And what to do if some residents celebrate nothing during this time of year? For... More
  • HUD Settles Disability and Retaliation Fair Housing Case from California for $23,000 Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it settled a disability and retaliation Fair Housing Act (FHA) case for over $23,000 filed by two residents against housing providers in California. The residents claimed management refused to install grab bars in their shower as well as that management retaliated against the residents for making the reasonable modification request. The case started when a couple with disabilities filed a complaint alleging that management of their housing... More
  • HUD Resolves Racial Discrimination Fair Housing Case for $80,000 In a press release issued last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) revealed it settled a racial discrimination Fair Housing Act (FHA) claim for $80,000 pursuant to the terms of a voluntary compliance agreement directed toward an apartment community in Georgia. The $80,000 is being divided up between three lead complainants (at $20,000 each) and the establishment of a $20,000 fund to compensate other residents who may have been subjected to unlawful racial harassment. The case started when... More
  • HUD Secretary Carson Seeks Federal Investigation Into Websites That Sell Assistance Animal Medical Verifications In a letter that is good news to those in the professional apartment ownership/management business, HUD Secretary Ben Carson wrote to the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this month asking that the FTC investigate websites that sell assistance animal medical verifications to individuals in an effort to permit those individuals to assert their pets are emotional support animals in order to avoid paying otherwise due pet rent and pet fees. In his letter, Secretary Carson wrote... More
  • California “Medical Emergency” Disability Fair Housing Case Settles for $50,000 A California fair housing case that settled last month provides a cautionary tale for all in the property management arena concerning lease termination and disability. None of us in the professional apartment business would knowingly end a tenancy because a resident has a disability, right? And further we would not move against someone because he or she needed an ambulance or other medical care, right? Here is what is claimed to have happened in this case: The resident asserted that her... More
  • So, About Those “100 Day” Fair Housing Act Complaint Letters Over the past couple of weeks, two Fair Housing Defense blog readers asked similar questions about the processing of administrative fair housing complaints. I thought it best to answer the questions together. Administrative housing discrimination cases can be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) or with various state, city, or county anti-discrimination agencies. Pursuant to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), complaints are to be investigated within 100 days of filing. Indeed, for complaints that get referred... More