I don’t post all the feedback sent by the Fair Housing Defense Blog readers. Yes, I review the comments. Some of the emailers ask good and helpful questions. Some seek my legal intervention. Others indicate I don’t know what I am talking (well, writing) about. Cost of doing business in cyberspace, I guess. I do, however, want to respond to a handful of recent inquiries:
1. I am a lawyer who represents and counsels ownership, management, and leasing office employees. Many residents (who think they have fair housing claims) ask me to work with them. I can’t. Not because it is a true legal conflict of interest (unless they want to sue one of my clients), but because I have taken the position to only represent management. The point is that I want my clients to know that the legal positions I am taking in one case are not going to be reversed in another matter. What I tell residents is simply: please try to engage with your leasing office. If that fails, you can always try a local fair housing advocacy group (there are many). Finally, you can also reach out to HUD or your state, city, or county fair housing agency/commission.
2. Yes, I do fair housing training. Fair housing training is an excellent way to attempt to avoid the real need to speak with a lawyer like me – after a discrimination complaint is filed. Service and/or companion animals are the hot fair housing topic in 2016. It is an issue that is not going to go away. Right now I am also dealing with delays in responding to reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification requests.
3. Back in April, HUD issued new guidelines for criminal screening of housing applicants. Again, what HUD issued was guidelines. Not a new law passed by Congress or a judicial opinion. I do think, however, in light of the HUD guidelines, every apartment management company should take a look and review your criminal screening matrix. There will be cases filed based on what HUD released. You don’t want to be the test case. I am reviewing these screens for a number of clients. It is usually inexpensive. Again, my accounting department wants you to be the test court case, but you don’t.
Thanks for reading the Blog. As I work at a big law firm, my firm keeps stats on everything – including how many hits the site gets month. I am always astounded (and very much appreciate) the steady uptick in the numbers each and every year.
I try not to lecture on any point, but I do end each post with: Just A Thought.