Just today, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its “final rule” on disparate impact under the federal Fair Housing Act.
This final rule responds to a heated battle between housing providers (broadly defined to include all parties involved in selling, renting, insuring, lending, and zoning of residential property in the U.S.) and fair housing advocates that ended up in front of the Supreme Court last year. (Just this month, the case was withdrawn, presumably in response to HUD’s published position on the issue.)
What is “Disparate Impact?”
Section 100.500(a) provides that a “discriminatory effect” occurs where a facially neutral practice actually or predictably results in a discriminatory effect on a group of persons protected by the Act (that is, has a disparate impact), or on the community as a whole on the basis of a protected characteristic (perpetuation of segregation). Any facially neutral action, e.g., laws, rules, decisions, standards, policies, practices, or procedures, including those that allow for discretion or the use of subjective criteria, may result in a discriminatory effect actionable under the Fair Housing Act and this rule. For examples of court decisions regarding policies or practices that may have a discriminatory effect, please see the preamble to the proposed rule at 76 FR 70924-25.
Simply stated, disparate impact occurs when a housing provider’s policies or actions, although neutral and non-discriminatory on their face, serve to disproportionately negatively impact a protected class of individuals, as defined under the Fair Housing Act. (more…)
Many of our tenants (and owners, too!) have been going through some tough economic conditions in the last few years. It’s no surprise that incidences of domestic violence tend to increase when a family is suffering economic hardship. Studies show that domestic violence is three times more likely to occur when couples are experiencing high levels of economic strain. (more…)
Rottweilers, Shepherds, and Pitbulls, Oh My!
The subject of today’s post was inspired by a recent class on accommodating the needs of residents with disabilities. As professional property managers, we know the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) requires us to make reasonable accommodations for renters with physical or mental disabilities. Often times, these requests revolve around assistance animals (note: the term “assistance animal” is synonymous with “companion animal,” “service animal,” “therapy animal,” etc.) It is widely known within the property management industry that accommodating such requests is generally considered “reasonable,” under FFHA.
What happens when the animal is a “dangerous breed” of dog?
Stories relating to incidents of deadly animal attacks on humans make national news on a fairly regular basis. As many of us know, some insurance companies keep lists of dog breeds they consider “dangerous,” (more…)
In the area of screening tenants for residential rental properties, property managers often like to think of themselves as great judges of character. After all, as a property manager, you deal with prospective tenants from all walks of life, don’t you? A few years in the business is likely to give us the feeling that we instinctively know who’s going to be a good tenant, and who isn’t.
Once upon a time…
A few days ago, I participated in a discussion around security deposits. The issue at hand was whether a landlord (property manager) could increase a security deposit for a single tenant, and not run afoul of fair housing laws. I maintain that YES, in Nevada, you can charge different deposit amounts for different tenants.
This question comes up frequently, and the response might surprise you.
“Can a landlord refuse to rent to a convicted sex offender, and can a homeowners association have rules and regulations prohibiting owner/landlords from renting to sex offenders?”
Thoughts on Tenant Selection
Last week, my blog addressed a few of the more common questions raised by Nevada Property Managers. This week, I’ll address a couple of questions received from a California landlord, as they pertain to managing residential rental property throughout the USA.
I am a landlord renting out a single detached home in California. I have received 5 applications to rent in the last couple of weeks, and I have two questions about the rental process. (more…)
Silver State Fair Housing 2011 Winning Poster
Whether you are a property manager, owner-landlord, board member, or HOA manager, sooner or later you’ll be faced with a request from a resident for an accommodation under Fair Housing Law.
How about a quick test, just to see how ready you are for these requests… (more…)
Finally! Clarification from the Department of Justice on the new rules for implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it pertains to “Service Animals.” The publication can be found here.
It’s important to note that ADA and Fair Housing laws are NOT the same. Fair Housing Law provides for a much broader definition of “Service Animal.” More on that here.
The new ADA rules state, in part:
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
The publication goes on to say:
This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
If you manage office buildings, retail properties, or industrial properties, this new publication should prove extremely useful in helping your office draft policy pertaining to Service Animals for your clients and customers.
Questions or Comments? Please participate in the discussion by leaving your remarks on this post.
Governor Sandoval has signed into law SB368 which affords fair housing protections to the LGBT community in Nevada. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Sheila Leslie and David Parks, adds to Nevada’s existing protected classes under fair housing law (race, color, religion, gender, national origin, family status, ancestry, disability) two more classes of individuals: gender identity/expression and sexual orientation. Despite some pretty heated testimony in opposition to the bill, it made its way through both the Senate and Assembly without amendment.
Those opposed to the bill included “Nevada Concerned Citizens,” a group that testified, in part: (more…)