Fair Housing

Phil Querin Q&A: Temporary Occupant and Fair Housing Accommodation

 

Question:  A tenant has asked for her daughter to be on a temporary occupant agreement.  The tenant has recently been in the hospital and has returned home.  She has not said she needs a caregiver at this point in time.  The daughter is 40 years old and has three large dogs.   She has applied to be a temporary occupant and has said that she will bring her dogs and if the park says ‘no’ she will get her attorney.  Does the temporary occupant have rights? The park has a small dog policy - her dogs are clearly in violation. At this point there has been no mention of disability or request for reasonable accommodation.  What are the landlord’s rights?  We suspect that the tenant will eventually say she needs at caregiver and hence the need for her daughter.  At that point, once she has said “disability” or “caregiver” what are the landlord’s rights? Can he say no to the daughter in both circumstances or only in first before the word “disability” or “caregiver” is mentioned?

 

 

 

Ten Things Every Landlord Should Know About Fair Housing

 

 

Sounds pretty simple if there are just 10 things to advise Landlords about with regard to fair housing law. Unfortunately there are more than just the 10 items listed in this article. However, these 10 are an excellent start, and knowing about fair housing will help lead to understanding what should and should not be done when renting property. Understanding fair housing is the best protection against a claim that a fair housing law has been violated. If you are an attorney advising a landlord on what to watch out for, the following items are a good start.

 

MHCO Article: Fair Housing Laws Apply When Selling or Renting!

Both state and federal law prohibit discrimination in the selling, renting or leasing of real property.  Federal fair housing laws have been in place since 1968.  Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, purchase or lease of property on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or handicap and sexual orientation. 

 

Pools and Summer Reminders: New Liability Claims for Discriminatory Management Guidelines

 

Summer is here again! And the kids have started their seasonal pilgrim- age to the coolest place in the all- age park, the swimming pool. Each year, there is accidental loss of life in private residential pools. Management is not required to provide lifeguards or medical services. As a mandate of federal law (mirrored in the Fair Employment and Housing Act as well), when it comes to common facilities in all age parks, (pools included), parents and guardians are charged with the discretion and power to supervise. This is not a management function. And now, a new case shows that liability can be sought for internal management guidelines passed along to managers from educational course notes!

 

55 & Older Communities - A Review

The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) went into effect on March 12, 1989.  That Act amended Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in the sale, rental, or financing of residential housing.  The FHAA added two additional protected classes; (1) persons with disabilities and (2) families with children.  Children include persons under the age of 18 years.

Phil Querin Article: The Supreme Court’s Recent Disparate Impact Ruling: What It Means To Fair Housing Law And Occupancy Limits

 

Background. The Fair Housing Act (“FHA” or “Act”) was passed in 1968, and has been an important fixture in the law ever since. Essentially, its purpose was to prohibit discrimination in the sale and rental of residential housing. At the time, there were five main protected classes, i.e. groups of persons entitled to the protection of the Act. Those classifications were race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.  In 1988, the FHA was amended to include two additional protected classifications: disability and familial status.[1]

 

The language of the Act makes it illegal “(t)o refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the  sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.”[2]  [Underscore mine.]  In other words, certain conduct is prohibited if it is “because of” another’s race, color, etc. 

 

Notwithstanding the text of the Act suggesting that Fair Housing claims may only be based upon intentional forms of discrimination, for many years several lower federal courts have ruled otherwise; i.e. holding that certain actions, though “facially neutral” (i.e. with no proof of improper motive), may constitute a violation of the Act if they adversely impact a protected class. This is the premise underlying the principle of “disparate impact”; the consequence rather than the motivation can be found to violate fair housing law. For a more detailed background on disparate impact, see my post here.

 

When reduced to its lowest common denominator, the ultimate question raised by disparate impact theory is whether the FHA forbids actions that may have a statistically adverse impact upon members of a protected class, even though those actions were not motivated by any intent to discriminate.[3]

 

 

Hoarding as a Fair Housing Issue: Beyond Reality TV

 

Hoarding is distinct from simply building a collection, which is usually displayed with pride, or letting a few days of dishes and laundry pile up when life gets busy. A person who has been diagnosed with hoarding has a disability under the Fair Housing Act1.

 

Hoarding has been added to the DSM-5, the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s classification and diagnostic tool, and is now recognized as diagnosable condition independent of other mental health conditions.

 

Since hoarding disorder is a disability under the Fair Housing Act, these individuals have the right to request a reasonable accommodation (RA) from a housing provider. 

Phil Querin Observation - Caregivers and Occupancy Agreements

The following is a summary of my conversation with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon on the issue of whether landlords can put caregivers on Temporary Occupancy Agreements, rather than putting them on a Rental Agreement, or not putting them on any written agreement (which leaves in doubt their legal status if the Landlord wants them removed from the Community).