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 Files FHA Design & Construction Disability Discrimination Charge At the end of last month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued a formal charge of housing discrimination against the developer, owner, construction company, and architect of a multifamily property in New York, asserting that the parties failed to design and construct a condominium development in Queens, NY in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA, of course, mandates that multifamily housing built after March 1991 contain accessible features for disabled... More
  • HUD Issues Notice Concerning Possible Changes to the Fair Housing Act’s “Disparate Impact” Rule As predicted in this space a couple of months ago, on June 20, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register entitled “Reconsideration of HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.” What’s going on here?  Here is a summary, in English (as opposed to legalese): “Disparate impact” involves testing a rule or a policy that looks neutral on its face, but which has a discriminatory impact on... More
  • Disparate Impact FHA Case Filed Asserting Discrimination in Minority Communities Earlier this week a number of fair housing advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Maryland asserting that a major financial institution and a property management company are violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by exposing predominately minority communities to economic harm, increased crime, and a less than optimal quality of life by failing to market and maintain its foreclosed properties in the same condition as the financial institution does in communities with a majority of Caucasian... More
  • HUD Resolves Disability Discrimination FHA Case for $12,000 Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced settlement of a disability discrimination Fair Housing Act (FHA) case from San Francisco, CA.  A family filed a fair housing complaint asserting their apartment community failed to transfer them in violation of the FHA as their infant son had a disability and management was required to transfer them to a non-smoking unit. The infant involved here has a condition that impacts his breathing. The family requested a transfer to a smoke-free... More
  • Florida Man Violates Fair Housing Act and Related Statutes Concerning Religious Discrimination A case with difficult facts from Florida involving the Fair Housing Act (FHA) as well as other civil rights laws made the news earlier this week. An immigrant from India (who is Muslim) entered into an agreement to buy a home in an upscale island neighborhood near downtown Tampa. When the purchasers came to the house to do a final inspection and some cleaning, a neighbor walked toward the house and started yelling. The neighbor allegedly said things like “This... More
  • HUD Approves Settlement of Nevada Assistance Animal Case for $6,000 Last month the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) approved a settlement agreement concluding an assistance animal Fair Housing Act (FHA) discrimination case from Nevada. An applicant submitted a reasonable accommodation request (that was appropriately medically verified, according to HUD) to keep an assistance animal due to her disability. As reported in the complaint, the leasing agent told the applicant that the owner did not allow pets because the floors had recently been upgraded to hardwood. After being told... More
  • HUD Charges New York Property Owners With Disability Discrimination Over an Alleged Assistance Animal In a case filed last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) formally charged property owners in Syracuse, New York with violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) asserting that the  owners failed to accommodate a disabled resident with an assistance animal at a community that otherwise has a “no pets” policy. While management is absolutely within its rights to declare a property pet free, leasing offices have to be able to review and evaluate reasonable accommodation requests from... More
  • HUD Moves to Change Two Obama Era Fair Housing Policies I wanted to pass along a couple of federal fair housing policy notes. Over the past two weeks, the Trump Administration has publically indicated a desire to change two points of federal housing law: On May 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued a press release stating that it would seek public comment on the 2013 “disparate impact” regulation put in place by the Obama Administration. The “disparate impact” regulation was an attempt to codify a... More
  • Answering Questions About Assistance Animals, Swimming Pools, and Food Service Areas A couple of assistance animal related questions have hit my desk recently.  At properties which have pools, can assistance animals accompany residents into the pool area? How about into the pool? No, I am not making that question up. While every situation requires independent analysis, the general rule is that an assistance animal is permitted on the pool deck (provided the animal is secured) but is not permitted in the pool. Animals are not permitted in the water for legitimate local... More
  • DOJ Settles Design and Construction Fair Housing Act Case Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it settled a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner, builder, and designer of a three building dormitory-style property near Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. The resolution concludes allegations that the defendants failed to design and construct the buildings in such a manner as to make them usable by individuals with disabilities as mandated by the accessibility requirements contained in our Fair Housing Act (FHA). As noted here (and elsewhere), the... More