I wanted to pass along a couple of federal fair housing policy notes. Over the past two weeks, the Trump Administration has publically indicated a desire to change two points of federal housing law: On May 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued a press release stating that it would seek public comment on the 2013 “disparate impact” regulation put in place by the Obama Administration. View Full Post
A couple of assistance animal related questions have hit my desk recently.  At properties which have pools, can assistance animals accompany residents into the pool area? How about into the pool? No, I am not making that question up. While every situation requires independent analysis, the general rule is that an assistance animal is permitted on the pool deck (provided the animal is secured) but is not permitted in the pool. View Full Post
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it settled a federal discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner, builder, and designer of a three building dormitory-style property near Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. The resolution concludes allegations that the defendants failed to design and construct the buildings in such a manner as to make them usable by individuals with disabilities as mandated by the accessibility requirements contained in our Fair Housing Act (FHA). View Full Post
Earlier today, Ben Carson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), put forward a plan that could significantly change the amounts paid by Americans who live in public housing. The proposal, discussed at a congressional hearing and in a HUD statement, is an effort by the Trump Administration to overhaul how housing subsidies are calculated for the estimated 4.5 million families who rely on federal housing assistance. View Full Post
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it charged the owner and manager of a trailer park in Mississippi (with seven lots on 1.25 acres of land, each with water and utility hook ups) with violating the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) by failing to rent a lot to an interracial married couple with two children (ages seven and five). View Full Post
If you are an apartment management professional, it is good practice to presume your community is covered under our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) as well as its state (and/or city or county counterpart). Indeed, under the federal law “dwelling” is defined as “any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.” That is quite a bit of legalese. View Full Post
I have used this space (and elsewhere) to discuss various issues involving service and emotional support animals for apartment community residents. Included in that, of course, is that management must make a reasonable accommodation in the event that a disabled resident requires an assistance animal – even if the property prohibits pets. View Full Post
When evaluating assistance animal requests from our residents, one of the issues faced by apartment leasing offices across the country is what to do if the animal is believed to be a “direct threat.” The law is absolutely clear that an animal (usually a dog) cannot be categorized as a “direct threat” unless there is evidence that the specific animal in question presents a legitimate danger to other residents, to property management employees, or to the property itself. View Full Post
Acting pursuant to state law, the New York Division of Human Rights initiated a complaint against a property manager in New York City alleging discrimination against individuals based on their immigration status. The complaint followed an investigation which revealed an agent for the landlord posted a letter addressed to “all tenants” on the front door of the property. View Full Post