HUD recently announced that it’s charging a couple who owns an apartment building in Georgia with violating fair housing law by refusing to rent to, imposing different rental terms and conditions on, and making discriminatory statements about families with children.
Fair housing law generally prohibits discrimination based on familial status, but there’s a limited exception that applies to senior housing communities that qualify as “housing for older persons.” To qualify, senior housing communities must meet strict technical requirements. Unless they satisfy those requirements, communities may not enforce “adult only” policies or impose age restrictions to keep children from living there.
The focus of this article is on federal law, but it’s important to check the law in your state governing senior housing communities. The specifics may vary, but you could draw unwanted attention from state enforcement agencies if you exclude families with children without satisfying legal requirements to qualify for the senior housing exemption.
Example: In January 2019, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced a $10,000 settlement in a fair housing complaint alleging familial status discrimination against the owners of a six-unit rental community and a residential real estate brokerage firm that managed the property.
Fair housing advocates filed the complaint, alleging that the property was advertised online as an “adult complex” and included a restriction of “maximum 2 adults.” During a follow-up call, the property manager reportedly told a tester that children weren’t allowed. DFEH found that the complex wasn’t a senior citizen housing development and that there was cause to believe a violation of state fair housing law had occurred.
“In California, senior housing developments can, with some exceptions, exclude residents under 55 years of age if they have at least 35 units and meet other requirements,” DFEH Director Kevin Kish said in a statement. “All other rental properties violate the law if they categorically exclude families with minor children. By identifying such policies through testing, fair housing organizations such as Project Sentinel play an important role in ensuring that families with children have access to housing.”
In this month’s lesson, we’ll explain what the law requires to qualify for and maintain the senior housing exemption. Then we’ll offer seven rules to help avoid fair housing trouble in senior housing communities. Finally, you can take the Coach’s Quiz to see how much you’ve learned.
This week, the Coach shepherds in the dog days of summer with a lesson on disability-related requests for assistance animals focusing on the most common type—dogs. The law generally allows communities to set their own pet policies, but housing providers must grant reasonable accommodation requests to allow individuals with disabilities to keep assistance animals when necessary to allow them full use and enjoyment of their homes.
Assistance animals can go by many names—service dogs, therapy animals, emotional support animals—and there are different sets of rules on when, where, and what types of animals may be used by individuals with disabilities in various settings. For this lesson, we’ll focus on federal fair housing law—the primary law governing use of assistance animals in multifamily housing communities, and we’ll use the umbrella term—assistance animals—to cover all types of animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities.
In this lesson, the Coach explains who qualifies as an individual with a disability and when you must consider making exceptions to your pet policies as a reasonable accommodation so they may keep an assistance animal at the community. Then we’ll suggest eight rules to help you avoid the missteps that often lead to fair housing trouble.
HUD recently announced that the owners and managers of a San Diego apartment complex have agreed to pay $17,000 to resolve allegations that they refused to grant a disabled resident’s request for a designated parking space close to the building.
HUD recently announced it’s charging a Texas property owner and management company with discriminating against families with children. HUD alleges that the owners and its management company threatened to fine a family $250 because their two children played in the community area of the complex.
Resident record management is anything but sexy. Nevertheless, it is essential to maintaining a profitable manufactured housing community. All too often community owners and managers think the job of records management is over once a new resident moves into the community. After all, if the file checklist has been followed and all the appropriate forms have been completed what else is there to do. Lets examine the importance of maintaining accurate resident records through the use of two examples.
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.
In the diverse and varied lifestyles we are seeing in our manufactured housing communities today, resident relations can be a key element in helping to run a successful community. Whether you own or manage an all-age community or a community for older persons (age 55 or over), the importance of good resident relations cannot be overestimated.