As reported last month, the Top Ten Fair Housing Defense blog posts for 2012 included at Number 1 – the Top Ten posts from 2011. With apologies to David Letterman, we just love Top Ten lists. Hmm, perhaps I am on to something here. As such, I went back since this blog was started and compiled the Top Five read posts of all time. And here they are:
1. Occupancy Standards — Why They Matter (Sept 2009)
2. Exemptions To The Fair Housing Act? Not Many — But Here Are Some. (Jan 2011)
3. The "Mrs. Murphy" Exemption To The Fair Housing Act (June 2010)
4. FHA and the Statute of Limitations (June 2009)
5. Are Punitive Damages Available in a Fair Housing Lawsuit? Only In Extreme Cases. (Nov 2010)
It is curious to me that two of the top five include attempts to find exemptions to the Fair Housing Act (FHA). So the record is clear – for almost all apartment communities that are professionally managed – you will be covered by both federal and state fair housing laws.
Occupancy standards are a very interesting issue because, like so much in the law, there is not always an easy yes or no answer. HUD has provided guidance in the past. But that guidance now essentially requires a balancing test. Additionally, certain state laws and city codes also weigh in on occupancy standards. The bottom line is while management has a right to look after safety, excessive damage and overcrowding – those issues may well lose to keeping a family (particularly if small children are involved) together.
Just A Thought.