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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New HUD Charge Shines Spotlight on Interracial Dating

"I do not have any blacks on my property and I am aware that we have a biracial president, but no federal law will make me rent to anyone I do not want to."

No federal law other than the Fair Housing Act (FHA), that is. The manager of a trailer home in Alabama reportedly made this statement to an investigator from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), following accusations of race and color discrimination from tenants.

While the owner and manager had no issue with the race of their tenants (who were white), they apparently were perturbed by the fact that one of the tenants had a black boyfriend who visited her in the trailer during a college break. After making things difficult for the tenants by disconnecting the water during his visit, the owner and manager finally just ordered the tenants to leave.

Having concluded its investigation, HUD announced yesterday that it has charged the owner and manager with violating the FHA's ban on race and color discrimination. The two will now have a chance to defend themselves before an administrative law judge. In addition to compensatory damages and a civil penalty, they may face punitive damages for what the HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity labeled an "overt act of discrimination."

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