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.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

HIV and the FHA

A lawsuit filed May 12 by Lamba Legal on behalf of an alleged victim of housing discrimination against the owner of an assisted living facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas brings to light an aspect of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) that many landlords aren't aware of. Tenants who have HIV (or AIDS, for that matter) qualify for protection under the FHA's ban on disability discrimination because they have a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

In this case, the tenant, a retired university provost and minister, was allegedly evicted from the faciliy just after move-in because he has HIV. (He was first diagnosed with the virus in 1987 and disclosed it to the facility at the time he applied, according to the complaint, yet the facility approved his application.) According to the tenant, he did not require any special medical attention, and so the facility was not put in a position of having to provide medical services for which it wasn't licensed.

The tenant seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the facility and attorneys' fees, but also a permanent injunction so that the facility won't deny housing to people because of the fact they are living with HIV/AIDS.

Do you think a housing provider should have the right to reject prospects or evict tenants because they have HIV/AIDS? Do you think the staff of the assisted living facility in this case acted based on outdated and inaccurate beliefs about how the virus is spread? Would you feel comfortable living in a building in which one or more of your neighbors had HIV?

What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

clearly against the law. Denying housing based on disability- should be open and shut.