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 Cautionary Tale and More on Holiday Decorations Last week we wrote generally about the impact of fair housing laws on holiday decorations and displays and the challenging balancing act that management must undertake when considering what, if any, holiday displays they will permit in their communities. A recent judgment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho demonstrates just what can happen if management (or a homeowners’ association) fails to address issues that members of the community might have with their neighborhood’s aspiring heir to... More
  • A Short Holiday Decoration Guide For Apartment Management Every year in December I get questions about holiday decorations in apartment communities. 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 professional apartment management, however, the question of what to do (or not do) with respect to holiday... More
  • HUD Files Disability Discrimination Fair Housing Charge Against Denver, CO Property Acting on a complaint initially filed back in 2016, just yesterday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) formally charged the owners, architect, and builder of an apartment building (with 164 units on six floors) in Denver, Colorado with housing discrimination for failing to make the property accessible to residents with disabilities. In addition to the seven protected classes in the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), covered multifamily housing must be designed and constructed to ensure it is... More
  • HUD Brings Disability Discrimination FHA Charge in New Jersey Related to Restrictions on an Assistance Animal Late last month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) charged a condominium association in New Jersey with disability discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). According to HUD, the complaint asserts that the condominium required that a resident (with vision and hearing impairments) use the service door (as opposed to the main entrance to the development) when she was accompanied by her assistance animal. Additionally, HUD alleged that the association charged the resident’s daughter a... More
  • HUD Charges New Jersey Rental Property Owner With Racial Discrmination Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) charged a rental property owner in New Jersey with racial discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). In the charging document, HUD asserts that the property owner declined to rent an apartment to an African American woman because of her race. HUD also alleges the owner used racial slurs in various text messages when informing the prospective renter that she was not chosen for the apartment. Factually, the charge... More
  • Waiting For HUD Guidance On Two Fair Housing Issues A little housing policy inside baseball today. Those of us in the multifamily housing space are waiting for our friends at HUD to act on two matters of interest: First, as previously noted, HUD issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking back in June 2018, seeking public comment on whether its 2013 disparate impact rule should be changed in light of the 2015 Inclusive Communities decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. In English, the belief is that the Trump Administration... More
  • Federal Court Concludes Social Security Disability Should Count As Income Under the Fair Housing Act In a decision published earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit concluded that a disabled plaintiff has the ability to file a complaint under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) against a property management company when management allegedly declined to accept a disability benefits check as an acceptable source of income from the applicants. The case involved a mother with a disabled adult daughter. The pair submitted an application to rent a unit using disability payments as... More
  • How Long is “Reasonable” When Responding to a Reasonable Accommodation or Reasonable Modification Request Last week, I got a demand letter from counsel for a resident concerning a reasonable accommodation request. That’s fine as they come in all the time. At the end of the letter, counsel demanded that we respond within three days or the lawyer will summarily conclude we denied the accommodation request. It irritates me when I see letters like this. Yes, management must evaluate and respond to every reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification request received from a resident or applicant... More
  • HUD Resolves California Emotional Support Animal FHA Case for $8,500 Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that a disability discrimination claim from California settled for $8,500. The agreement resolved a complaint filed by a resident with a disability asserting discrimination under the Fair Housing Act related to an assistance animal. In the complaint, the resident alleged that she was threatened with eviction because she had an emotional support animal. The matter came to HUD after the resident filed a complaint alleging the property manager told her... More
  • HUD Files Another Familial Status Fair Housing Discrimination Case Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sent out a press release to note that it charged a Texas property owner and management company with discriminating against families with children in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). In its charge, HUD asserts the owners and management company at El Patrimonio Apartments threatened to fine a family $250 because their two children played in the community area of the complex. Families with children under... More