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

  • 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
  • More on the California New Rental Housing Laws Readers from California (thank you very much) sent me comments asking for more details about the new rental housing laws in their state. Here are some highlights of the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. In short, California now has a type of statewide rent control and mandates “just cause” to terminate a tenancy.  Some details: Rent Control. With respect to rent control (which is subject to some exceptions), the new law prohibits a housing provider from increasing the rental rate by more than 5%... More
  • New California Law Expands the Definition of Source of Income Protection in Housing In a significant development for housing providers in California, the state legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill (now a law) designed to prohibit property management from discriminating against residents and potential residents who use housing vouchers to pay their rent. The new law expands the definition of “source of income” under California law. To briefly review, the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) has seven protected classes, which include: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. In... More
  • HUD Settles California Assistance Animal Case for $15,000 In a statement issued at the end of last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced it resolved a disability discrimination Fair Housing Act (FHA) case in California asserting that various housing providers in and around Los Angeles failed to permit assistance animals for residents with disabilities. The settlement includes a payment of $15,000 as well as mandating various training, recordkeeping, and drafting of new anti-discrimination policies. Factually, a local fair housing tester group filed a complaint... More
  • HUD Charges New York Property Owner With Familial Status Discrimination Continuing on a theme of late, last week the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) charged a New York property owner with violating the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) when he refused to rent an available apartment home to a father with a teenager. Factually, the property is a mixed-use building with an office on the first floor and two residential units on the second floor. The residential floor contains a two bedroom apartment and a one bedroom apartment.... More