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

  • HUD Charges Buffalo, NY Property Owner With Disability Discrimination Related to an Assistance Animal In a press release issued a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) charged a New York property owner with discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) asserting that the owner failed to permit a resident to keep an assistance animal. Factually, the complainant (and two roommates) moved into an apartment in Buffalo pursuant to a lease with a “no pets” provision. Following what looks like a couple of months of therapy, the resident noted... More
  • HUD Files Familial Status Discrimination Charge Against the City of Arlington, Texas In a charge that demonstrates the perils of acting even in what is perceived to solve a need, the City of Arlington, Texas has now been sued by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) related to their efforts to build affordable housing targeting a need among elderly residents. There is a bit of legalese involved, but the specifics involve a federal tax credit program to assist with the development of new housing. In 2016, the City of... More
  • Retaliation and the Fair Housing Act I suspect I have mentioned this before, but it keeps coming up.  In addition to the seven protected classes (race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, and disability) in the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), there is another cause of action tucked away in a different section of the law that trips up housing providers from time to time: retaliation. Here is how it comes into play and hits my desk. Assume a resident submits more than a few service... More
  • Fair Housing and Elections All right. A couple of readers have asked me to comment on the November 2020 presidential election and what, if anything, the election may mean for fair housing. While I desperately try to avoid politics here at the Fair Housing Defense Blog, this is what I can report. Our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) was passed back in 1968. It was amended in 1974 and then again in 1988. In short, the FHA has been enforced by multiple Democratic and... More
  • HUD Settles Two Fair Housing Act Cases: One for $8,000 and One for $6,000 In separate releases issued earlier today, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it settled two housing discrimination matters: one from California for $6,000 and one from Hawaii for $8,000. In the California case, the complainants claimed that housing providers declined to offer them a two bedroom unit because they have three children. In the Hawaii matter, the complainants asserted they were discriminated against on the basis of disability by failing to grant a reasonable accommodation... More
  • COVID-19: CDC Issues Pandemic Economic Hardship Eviction Hold Until The End of 2020 In a bit of a surprise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just issued a nationwide order halting many pandemic-related residential evictions through the end of 2020. At first glance, the order looks to cover more than 40 million residential renters if they meet certain defined income and other eligibility requirements. This new action follows President Trump’s Executive Order of August 8, 2020. That order directed the CDC (and other federal agencies) to review whether temporarily halting evictions... More
  • Some Additional COVID-19 Related Questions and Answers A couple of (well, four) quick pandemic-centric questions today:  As we have all seen over the past few months, some amenities at apartment communities (gyms, pools, fitness centers, community rooms, games rooms, and the like) were closed or remain closed because of government health restrictions. Can residents pay reduced rent because amenities bargained for are not available? While the language in each individual lease may differ, it is likely the answer is no. Many leases provide that even in the event... More
  • HUD Settles Three Housing Discrimination Cases From Arkansas for $51,000 Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced it resolved three fair housing cases from Arkansas, settling allegations that the owners and property management company discriminated against a number of residents because of their national origin. Additionally, one of the now settled claims asserted that management retaliated against an employee who wanted to inform residents of their fair housing rights under the law. Factually, in two cases the complainants asserted they received an eviction notice (and management... More
  • Update on Residential Evictions in the COVID Era I get questions from time to time about the status of evictions during the pandemic. In short, there are no easy answers and guidance changes monthly (or even weekly). Displacing anyone from their home is unpleasant at any time. And the pandemic makes it even worse. While I certainly understand the reasoning around stopping evictions during the pandemic, I also want to speak up at the same time for a pause in multi-family property foreclosures as the rent paid by... More
  • Can Apartment Management Restrict Political Signs in Windows and on Doors? Read On. With the 2020 presidential election less than three months away, I had an interesting question hit my desk: can a property management company restrict residents from placing political signs on their exterior windows, doors, and/or balconies? With some exceptions (noted below), the answer looks to generally be yes. Now, of course residents have First Amendment rights and leasing offices are not trying to take those away – unless the resident has agreed to a provision in the lease (or community... More