So, what’s the first thing you should do if your professional apartment management company (or ownership entity or leasing office employee) receives a notice from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) or a similar state, city, or county agency informing them that a housing discrimination case has been filed? Of course, the initial answer is to send it to a lawyer like me to ensure an appropriate notice of appearance is prepared and to work on submitting a written response. A lawyer will help to ensure the “other” side of the story is told (and, believe me, I know there are at least two sides to every fair housing complaint). But there is another important step management should take – send the complaint to your insurance carrier to determine if one of your policies includes coverage for discrimination cases.
Sure, some policies specifically exclude this type of coverage, but other policies cover fair housing matters. And finding insurance coverage can be an important step for management. Particularly as you have paid the premium, don’t miss out on potential coverage.
Now, my best advice is to always engage in the interactive process with residents to avoid fair housing complaints (and having to deal with a lawyer like me). But if and when a complaint is filed, always check to determine if an insurance carrier can assist.
Just A Thought.