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

  • Catching Up on Reader Questions A handful of helpful reminders today in response to questions sent in by blog readers: If you are going to draft community rules and policies (indeed, a best practice in my view) please remember not to single out members of a protected class. For example, if you want to prohibit running and/or playing in your apartment community parking lot (a good safety practice), don’t write your rule such that it reads “Children are Not Permitted to Run in Our Parking Areas”... More
  • Further Thoughts On The HUD Assistance Animal Guidance Your humble Fair Housing Defense blog editor appreciated hearing from a number of you concerning the new HUD guidance addressing reasonable accommodation requests for animals under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). In response to your requests, here are a few more thoughts on the guidance: *As of January 2020, assistance animal complaints now make up almost 60% of all FHA cases and the number of reasonable accommodation requests for assistance animals continues to increase. *HUD is mindful that some people with pets are... More
  • HUD Issues New Assistance Animal Guidance In another helpful development for the professional apartment management industry, last week the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued a long-awaited guidance document concerning use of an animal as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). As your humble blog editor has written many times over the years – I try to call balls and strikes. Having more information from our regulators helps keep everyone on the same page. While the November 2019 letter from... More
  • More on the DOT’s Service Animal Rules and What I Hope to See From HUD My post from last week concerning the proposed rules authored by U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) attempting to make certain only legitimate service animals fly with their owners on in the air resulted in a few comments. I always appreciate hearing from readers, even if you disagree with my opinion. To make it clear, I did not write that I think emotional support animals should be cut out of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) with respect to living in an... More
  • U.S. Department of Transportation Publishes Rule to Permit Airlines to Ban Emotional Support Animals In what some think may eventually reach the professional apartment management industry, earlier today the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a proposed rule that would allow airlines to no longer accommodate passengers who want to fly with emotional support animals (ESA’s). The revised rules, which DOT has been working on for years, would narrow the definition of service animal to dogs that have received individualized training to work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. According to the... More
  • DOJ Files Familial Status Fair Housing Act Lawsuit in Hawaii While I regularly report on housing discrimination cases filed (or settled) by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), I would be remiss if I did not check in on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Last fall, DOJ filed a federal lawsuit alleging that owners/managers of residential housing in Hawaii violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by refusing to rent to families with children. The complaint asserts that, at least since 2015, the defendants violated the FHA because... More
  • 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