Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Watch President Johnson Proudly Announce the Passage of the Fair Housing Act

After years of debate and struggle, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) became a legislative reality on April 11, 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, of which the FHA was Title VIII.

Since that time, the FHA has been amended to include additional protected classes and provide for stronger enforcement. Its aim, as stated in the very beginning of the text of the law, remains "to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States."

As Fair Housing Month nears its end, take a moment to watch President Johnson speak about his efforts to enact federal housing discrimination legislation and proclaim that one of his presidency's "proudest moments" is the signing into law of the "promises of a century," in this short video (courtesy of History.com):

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's Fair Housing Month... Do You Know How to File a Fair Housing Complaint With HUD?

If you're an apartment prospect or tenant who believes that your landlord or another housing professional has illegally discriminated against you, you may be able to get relief under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This popular route saves tenants time and money as well as the need to hire an attorney.

Here are the steps you'll need to take if you decide to proceed with filing a complaint against your landlord with HUD.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rental Properties and Pets: Making Reasonable Accommodations for a Disability

Landlords are entitled to create and enforce rules governing tenants' pets at a rental property. They can even ban pets from their buildings, if they wish.

But landlords and tenants should both know that landlords can't automatically say no to prospects and tenants who request to keep an animal in their apartment as an accommodation for a disability.

Instead, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) says that landlords must consider all accommodation requests tenants make that they need in connection with a disability, then grant such requests, if they're reasonable. 

See what lessons landlords and tenants can learn from a recent dispute about a family's request to keep a "therapy pig" in their home for the benefit of a child diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's Fair Housing Month... Do You Know When the Fair Housing Act Applies to a Rental Property?

Although the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a federal law, has broad geographic reach, the nation's primary piece of housing discrimination legislation doesn't apply to all rental properties in every situation.

For example, the FHA generally doesn't apply if landlords own and occupy a building with fewer than five apartments. Also, the FHA doesn't apply to most situations where a single-family house is sold or rented without a broker.

Learn more about federal fair housing law exemptions by checking out my recent article for Nolo.com, entitled "Does the Federal Fair Housing Act Apply to Your Rental Property?"