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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

HUD Adopts Stronger Stance Against Domestic Violence

Tenants who are denied or evicted from housing as a result of domestic violence may have grounds to file a discrimination complaint under the Fair Housing Act, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the primary federal agency charged with enforcing the FHA.

HUD recently issued guidance in the form of a memorandum to FHEO headquarters and field staff, pointing out that while the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers some protections to victims of abuse who experience housing discrimination, the FHA authorizes HUD to investigate whether a tenant's denial or eviction violates the FHA because of discrimination based on sex or another protected class.

In its guidance, HUD suggests that the following examples may yield a viable claim under the FHA:
  • A landlord who refuses to accept women with a history of domestic violence because they may return to abusive men;

  • A landlord who evicts women for the violent acts of their abusers; and

  • A "zero-tolerance" policy for criminal activity, under which an entire household may be evicted for the criminal act of one member, as it may have a disparate impact on women because they are the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims.
Do you believe this new guidance will help protect domestic violence victims from losing their homes? What more, if anything, should the government do to achieve this goal?

What do you think?

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