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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did a Home Invasion Lead to a Civil Rights Invasion?

Burglars invaded five apartments at a Kentucky complex within a span of just over two months. Unlike the first four invasions, the victims in the fifth invasion were a black family, and the landlord responded by evicting them because of their race, color, and sex, according to a Charge of Discrimination filed recently by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Charge outlines several attempts by the landlord and property management company to show that there was no discrimination behind the family's eviction, but the justifications don't appear to hold up. For example, the landlord claimed they were evicted because of "numerous police calls" to the family's apartment before the invasion for what the landlord thought was domestic violence. However, records show that the only calls regarding the family's apartment had been made by the family itself, for reasons such as to report a suspicious vehicle. In addition, the police responded to complaints about alleged domestic violence at some of the white tenants' apartments, which didn't result in those tenants' evictions.

A HUD administrative law judge will decide whether the landlord and property management company should be held liable for violating the family's rights under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by having evicted them. If liable, the landlord and management company may be ordered to pay damages to the family as well as a civil penalty.

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