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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inching Toward a Majority of Minorities

A couple of years ago, I blogged about how a U.S. Census Bureau report projected that a rising minority population will become the majority in the United States by the middle of this century.

A new Census report released yesterday shows that such a significant demographic shift is indeed still on track.

According to reporting from the Associated Press, the nation's minority population now comprises 35% of the total. As white baby boomers have aged, younger Hispanic parents are having children, driving population growth by accounting for more than half of total U.S. population gains last year, the report notes.

What effect will this demographic shift have on the need for laws such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA)? Will there be more or fewer fair housing complaints?

What do you think?

Interracial Marriage and Fair Housing

Interracial or interethnic marriage is reportedly at an all-time high in the United States.

According to a report published last week by the Pew Research Center, roughly one in seven U.S. marriages (14.6%) in 2008 were between spouses of different races or ethnicities. Among all newlyweds that year, 9% of whites, 16% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 31% of Asians married someone of a different race or ethnicity.

As the rate of interracial or interethnic marriage has more than doubled since 1980 (when it was at only 6.7%), most Americans (over 60%) reportedly say they approve — even when such marriages occur within their own families.

Landlords, property managers, and other housing professionals who discriminate against tenants or prospective tenants because they married or are dating someone of a different race or ethnicity than their own are violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA). (See, for example, "New HUD Charge Shines Spotlight on Interracial Dating," December 23, 2009.)

Have you ever been turned away from an apartment, been threatened with eviction, or otherwise felt discriminated against because of your significant other's race? If so, what have you done about it?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

HUD Adds Certain State and Local Protections to Federal Grant Programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Monday that it will require grant applicants in 2010 to comply with any state and local fair housing laws that protect against sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as lawful source of income. (Note: HUD later formally announced the source of income in a separate release issued June 11.)

(For a scrollable list of additional protected classes in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, check out the "Protected Classes Tool" at fairhousingresources.com.)

In the past, HUD has required grant applicants to comply only with applicable federal fair housing and related civil rights laws, including the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For more details on the new grant requirements, read HUD's official notice.