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 Georgia Property Owner With Disability Discrimination For Failure to Approve a Reasonable Accommodation Request Related to the Rental Due Date Here is a fact pattern professional apartment management should work to avoid. An applicant signs a lease for an apartment home. Rent is due on the first of the month. As is typical in many residential leases, late fees are due if the rent is not paid after a few days. The resident is disabled and receives a disability check later in the month (but the check indeed comes each month). He asks the leasing office for a reasonable accommodation... More
  • Answering Fair Housing Defense Blog Reader Questions/Comments Catching up with some Fair Housing Defense reader email this week. With the caveat that this blog entry does not constitute legal advice, here we go: Am I part of the problem? Sure hope not. A reader indicated that because I defend those accused of housing discrimination (and specifically that I have previously written I will defend a case until I obtain a No Probable Cause Dismissal in certain circumstances), I am part of the problem because he has a legitimate... More
  • COVID Eviction Pause Update — Check With Your Local Court As written here and elsewhere, navigating traditional landlord/tenant legal matters during the past few months has been complicated. Management wants and needs to have compassion for all of our residents who have been impacted by the global pandemic. I know many leasing offices and legal departments have been evaluating hardships and literally working side by side with residents to find solutions to keep Americans in their homes. As a part of that process, the federal government (as well as state,... More
  • HUD Awards Over $40 Million for Fair Housing Enforcement and Training If professional apartment management thought that fair housing enforcement would stop because of a global pandemic, well – think again. Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced over $40 million in grants to local fair housing advocacy groups from coast to coast. These individual grants, running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each, are designed to assist individuals who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination as well as to provide funding for... More
  • HUD Charges Wisconsin Property Owner/Manager with Disability Discrimination Related to an Assistance Animal Pursuant to a release issued last week, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) stated it charged the owner and manager of apartment homes in Wisconsin with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent to two individuals because of a claimed disability and related need for an assistance animal. The HUD charge asserts that prospects found an ad for an apartment online and then toured the potential new home after meeting the property manager. After the tour, the property... More
  • HUD Settles Racial Discrimination Fair Housing Case for $35,000 Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved a $35,000 settlement agreement resolving a fair housing complaint filed against the owner and manager of apartment communities on Long Island (in New York) addressing allegations that various employees discriminated against applicants based on their race. As described in the complaint and conciliation agreement, the allegations were that certain employees treated white fair housing testers posing as prospective residents more favorably than African American fair housing testers posing as... More
  • Supreme Court Expands Employment Anti-Discrimination Laws to Protect the LGBTQ Community. Fair Housing is Likely Next. In a decision which will likely expand the scope of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) by analogy, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded earlier today that a 1960’s era civil rights statute protects gay and transgender workers. By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes protection for gay and transgender employees. Our FHA, which is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, was... More
  • COVID-19: One Request is a Reasonable Accommodation and One is Not (But May Be Worth a Compassionate Release) I wanted to offer up two related COVID-19 fair housing scenarios I have seen recently in my discussions with apartment management clients. As written here (and elsewhere) regularly, our Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires management to make what is known as a “reasonable accommodation” in our rules, policies or practices as needed to permit an individual with a disability to fully use and get the benefit of his/her housing. One such accommodation is a request to terminate a lease early (and... More
  • COVID-19 and Housing Eviction Proceedings With just a few days left in May, apartment owners, management companies, and residents are set to deal with another month of rents due in a global pandemic. The good news (I hope) is that states are starting the process of opening again with social distancing. The belief is that many employees who were furloughed or let go because of the shutdown will have jobs to come back to so they can pay their rent. A real concern, however, is... More
  • HUD Settles Disability Discrimination Fair Housing Act Case for $80,000 In a press release issued last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved a settlement agreement concluding a disability housing discrimination complaint against the owners and property managers at a community in Pennsylvania. The total amount to be paid by the Respondents is $80,000. In their complaint, two residents asserted that management failed to approve their reasonable accommodation requests for a reserved parking space, did not permit them to transfer to a first floor home, and... More