For most of us involved in the professional apartment management and housing world, we begin with the assumption that each property and person is covered by the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and/or state, city, county, or local anti-housing discrimination law. Much of the time that is an absolute correct place to start. But, not always. Here are some people NOT covered by our FHA:
- Juvenile offenders and sex offenders are not persons with disabilities recognized under the law;
- Neither are current users of illegal controlled substances; and
- Individuals (even those with a disability) whose residency would constitute a “direct threat” to the health or safety of other individuals or whose continued residency might result in substantial physical damage to the property or injury to other persons, unless the direct threat can be eliminated or reduced by a requested reasonable accommodation.
Remember that the FHA does not permit the exclusion of people based on fear, speculation, or stereotype about a particular disability. The determination must rely on an individual assessment based on reliable and objective evidence.
Again, most of our applicants, residents, guests, and apartment communities are certainly covered (and indeed should be covered) by the fair housing laws. But, given the circumstance, you might want to think about if the FHA does not apply.
Just A Thought.