In the year 2010, it seems shocking to some that blatant discrimination in housing would still be taking place. The only color property owners and managers I work with care about is green. If you meet the resident selection criteria and an available unit exists, you get it.
As readers have seen from this blog, however, both HUD and the Department of Justice (as well as state, city, and county agencies) still actively police housing discrimination pursuant to the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its state law counterparts.
In fact, according to HUD’s most recent data, the number of housing discrimination complaints filed is at an all time high: 10,552 across the country. The protected classes with the most complaints are: (1) disability; (2) race; and (3) familial status. To be sure, while many of these have been filed by disgruntled applicants, residents, or former residents seeking to retaliate against management for a perceived wrong, the costs (both in time and for legal expenses) to management for defending even against a meritless complaint can be excessive.
The best defense against one of these complaints (and the need to hire a lawyer like me) is to avoid having it filed against you. While there are some people who can never be satisfied and are going to file in any event, my experience has been that good recordkeeping with an attention to detail and being responsive to your applicants and residents will lessen the chance of a fair housing case.
Just A Thought.