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 27, 2010

Government Fair Housing Report Shows Disability Continues to Top Complaint List

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the release of its first annual report on the state of fair housing since President Obama took office. More fair housing complaints again have been filed based on disability than on any of the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) other protected classes, according to the report's findings.

Of the 10,242 complaints filed with HUD and its fair housing partners, nearly half (44%) alleged disability discrimination. The next most common basis for discrimination was race (31%), followed by familial status (20%).

In addition, the report noted that:
  • This is the fourth consecutive year in which the number of fair housing complaints rose about 10,000.

  • The most common issue (alleged in 55% of complaints) was discrimination in the terms or conditions of the sale or rental of property. The next most common issue was refusal to rent (in 24% of complaints), followed by failure to make a reasonable accommodation to allow a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling (in 22% of complaints).

  • Aside from injunctive and other nonmonetary relief, HUD and Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies obtained more than $8 million as a result of their enforcement efforts. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered more than $850,000 in damages and civil penalties in Fair Housing Act cases that were investigated and charged by HUD.

Federal law requires HUD to report on its fair housing findings and progress each fiscal year. HUD offers a complete copy of its new report, entitled "The State of Fair Housing: Annual Report on Fair Housing FY 2009" through its Web site.

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