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, April 28, 2010

Fair Housing Month: HUD or DOJ?

Do you believe that a landlord or other party has violated your rights under the Fair Housing Act (FHA)? If so, you can try suing the offender in federal or state court. Or, as I blogged last week, you may prefer the easier, less expensive option known as the administrative route, which involves having the federal government pursue your claim on your behalf.

The federal agency responsible for investigating the facts and handling your claim is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If HUD determines there's reasonable cause to believe you've been disriminated against, your case will normally be heard by an impartial HUD administrative law judge. However, if you or the other party prefers, your dispute may be litigated in federal court, in which case the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will file the complaint on your behalf.

The DOJ also has the authority to sue parties who may be engaged in a "pattern or practice" of discrimination, or where a denial of rights to a group of people raises an important public issue.

Return tomorrow for the twenty-ninth part of this special "Fair Housing Month" feature at Fairhousingblog.com.

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