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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

HUD Goes Polyglot With Expanded LEP Site

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced this month that it expanded its Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Web site to offer several key housing-related documents in 12 languages. This initiative follows Executive Order 13166, which requires government agencies with federal funding to ensure that people with limited language skills have access to government programs and services.

In addition to English, visitors to the site can access versions of many documents in the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Is translating documents into more languages a good idea so that a greater number of Americans can read them and learn about important government programs from which they may benefit? Or should people be expected to understand the documents as they originally appear in English? In other words, is this a worthwhile initiative of inclusion, or an unnecessary expenditure of time and taxpayer money?

What do you think?

Monday, June 15, 2009

2008 Fair Housing Complaints Break Record

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a record 10,552 housing discrimination complaints were filed in 2008, as compared to 10,154 complaints in 2007.

HUD's annual report for Congress, dated June 8, 2009, provides details and insight into the types of complaints filed under the Fair Housing Act. The plurality of the complaints — a whopping 44% — were filed by people alleging housing discrimination based on a disability. The second-largest type of complaint was based on race and involved 35% of the complaints filed.

Do you think the increase in fair housing complaints is owed to more discrimination, greater awareness of housing rights, or both?

What do you think?