HUD recently released statistics concerning the number of fair housing complaints filed and, interestingly, the kind of complaints received. For 2010 (the last full year for which data is currently available), HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partners (state and local agencies designated by HUD to investigate fair housing complaints in local jurisdictions) received 10,155 housing discrimination complaints. This total is slightly lower than 2009, when the total number of complaints was 10,242. For what it is worth, HUD reported that 2010 marked the fifth year in the row that the total number of fair housing complaints was over 10,000.
As I have previously written, over the past few years, the highest percentage of complaints contain allegations involving disabilities. That trend continued in 2010 with a full 48% of complaints including allegations of discrimination based on a disability. The second highest percentage was race (34%), followed by familial status (15%), national origin (12%), sex (11%), religion (3%), and color (2%). Another 7% of the complaints involved allegations of retaliation. Yes, I know these percentages add up to more than 100% — that is because a significant number of complaints are filed under more than one protected class.
So, what does all this mean? For apartment owners and professional management companies it means we must continue to be vigilant as we provide housing to our residents and those looking for housing. We must comply with the Fair Housing Act and ensure we follow our non-discriminatory resident selection criteria. Make no mistake, while many of these complaints are wholly without merit (and I work every day to get them dismissed), HUD investigators (as well as fair housing testers) are out there and discrimination cases get filed somewhere at the rate of just less than 30 complaints a day.
Just A Thought.