State of Indiana Civil Rights Commission FAIR HOUSING
Commission Created • 1961-Fair Employment Practice Commission • Limited to employment matters • No enforcement ability
Commission Expanded • Areas and groups • 1963- Act became law • Named changed to the: Indiana Civil Rights Commission • Enforcement powers: Employment, Education and Public Accommodation • 1965-Housing added (enforcement area) • 1971- Gender added (protected class)
Commission Expanded • 1974- Credit (enforcement area) • 1975- Disability (protected class) • 1991- Housing enforcement changed to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act • Coverage added for families with children under the age of 18 • Victims of housing discrimination given right elect agency or judicial enforcement of claims
What is Fair Housing? Fair Housing is based on the premise that housing should be a free choice.
Indiana Civil Rights Law • Indiana Code 22-9-1 • States that it is the public policy of the State to provide citizens equal opportunity in the purchase or rental of a property.
Indiana Civil Rights Law • All properties covered: • Commercial and residential property • Regardless of number of units owned • Includes all protected classes except familial status
Indiana Fair Housing Act • Passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1991 • Prohibits illegal housing discrimination against seven protected classes • Applies to virtually every area of a housing transaction • Applies to both privately and publicly owned housing
State of Indiana Civil Rights Commission FAIR HOUSING ACT OVERVIEW
Protected Classes • Race • Color • Sex • Religion • National Origin • Disability • Familial Status
Protected Classes • Disability • Physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities • Has a record of such impairment • Regarded as having such an impairment
Protected Classes • Familial Status • Children under the age of 18 living with a person (adopted, natural, foster, pregnant, or in the process of adopting or attaining custody)
Dwellings • ALL DWELLINGS ARE COVERED • Any building or structure intended for occupancy by one or more families. • Also includes vacant land intended for housing
Types of Dwellings Single family dwellings Multiple family dwellings Vacant land intended for housing
Exemptions • The owner owns fewer than four (4) single-family houses at one time • The house was sold or rented without the use of real estate services or prohibited advertising • Applies to only one (1) sale or rental within 24 months, if owner was not most recent resident
Exemptions • Dwelling containing living quarters for no more than four (4) families living independently • Owner maintains and occupies one of the living quarters as a residence
Exemptions • Religious organizations may limit sale or rental to same religion • Non-commercial transaction ONLY • May not exclude based on race, color or national origin
Exemptions • Strictly reserved for members of a private club • Incident to club’s primary purpose • Non-commercial transaction • May not exclude based on race, color, national origin
Exemptions • Housing for older persons may exclude families with children • Housing which is intended for and solely occupied by persons 62 years and older • Housing which is intended for persons 55 and older which is 80% occupied by at least one person age 55 or older
Who Can File? • Any aggrieved party can file a complaint • An aggrieved party is anyone who can show that they have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice. • May include: • Fair Housing organizations • Testers
Examples • White tenants in a building that excluded minorities were aggrieved on the ground that the management of the housing project affected the very quality of their daily lives.
Examples • A non-live-in boyfriend was held to have standing pursuant to the Act because as a minority he was forced to discontinue his visits to his girlfriend’s home.
Prohibited Activity • Refusal to rent/sell • Misrepresenting availability • Refusal to negotiate with a person • Imposing different terms and/or conditions
Prohibited Activity • Steering • Discouraging/encouraging prospective home buyers or tenants from selecting property because of the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood • Blockbusting • Pressuring individuals to sell their homes because members of a protected class are moving in to their neighborhood
Prohibited Activity • Redlining • Denying or imposing different terms on mortgage loans or insurance coverage because of the ethnic make-up of the neighborhood in which the property is located. • Unreasonable Occupancy Limitations • Must be made upon reasonable spatial considerations as opposed to number of children
Prohibited Activity • Discriminatory Advertising • Intimidation and/or interference • Financing Discrimination • Refusal to permit reasonable accommodations or modifications for persons with disabilities
Prohibited Activity • Accommodations • Landlord must allow relaxation of rules, policies and procedures if necessary to allow enjoyment of the dwelling
Prohibited Activity • Modifications • Landlord must allow reasonable modifications to structure of the unit if necessary to allow enjoyment of dwelling: • Widening doorway • Installing ramps • Installing grab bars • Lowering countertops • Removing carpets
Landlord has the right to: • Review plans for modification • In some instances, require that the unit be returned to previous condition • Require the person doing work to be licensed, insured and/or bonded • Tenant responsible for cost of modifications (except in common areas)
Landlord has the right to: • Landlord may request verification of necessity for requested accommodations or modification • Landlord may not request information on tenants medical condition • Need not be made if causes undue burden or fundamental alteration
New Multi-Family Dwellings • Applies to those built after March 13, 1991 • Requirements • Non-elevator buildings must have accessible first floor units and elevator buildings must have all accessible units • Accessible means: • Accessible kitchens and baths • Reinforced walls in showers and bathtubs • Accessible climate controls, switches and outlets
State of Indiana Civil Rights Commission ADVERTISING
Prohibited Advertising IC 22-9.5-5-2 It is unlawful to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published, any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling, that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.”
Explicit Preferences • Words indicative of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. • Examples: Oriental, White, Christian, Hispanic, Handicapped, Adults, etc.
Selective Advertising • Placing ads in only specific locations based on a protected class • May be permitted for: • Economic reasons • Affirmatively furthering fair housing
Selective Images • Preference indicated by use of models in advertising • All one race or adults • Different models for different neighborhoods • Try to represent minorities, disabled and families with children
Directions or References • Use of racial or religious landmarks in giving directions to the property • Advertising that references facilities associated with a particular race, religion, sex, etc. • May not be intentional, but could be perceived as preferential
Steering • Recommending a particular neighborhood based on racial make-up • Race should not be considered in the determination of what properties to show a client, even if the client requests • While some clients may prefer to live in a racially homogenous neighborhood, the realtor may not facilitate this preference.
Sexual Harassment • Co-workers (Civil Rights Law) • Employer may be liable if knowledgeable • Employer must take corrective action • May be personally liable for civil damages • Tenants (Fair Housing Act) • Employee AND employer could be liable
Sexual Harassment • Co-workers • Victim must inform management • Employer may be liable if no action is taken to end harassment • Harassment can create “hostile work environment” causing victim to resign • “Severe and pervasive”
Sexual Harassment • Tenants • Quid pro quo: this for that • Unwelcome comments which create “hostile environment” • Tenant must inform management • Management must take action
Fair Housing Enforcement • Complaint Intake • Determination of Jurisdiction • Testing • Investigative Allegations • Attempt Voluntary Settlement • Prompt Judicial Action • Findings
Determining Jurisdiction • Is a right to housing impacted? • Did the incident occur in Indiana or is the property located in Indiana? • Do any exemptions apply? • Fewer than four (4) units/properties • Religious organization • Private club • Filed within one (1) year under the Indiana Fair Housing Act (IFHA). • 180 days under Indiana Civil Rights Law.
Testing • Trained testers pose as prospective tenants/buyers • Testers are trained by the ICRC • ICRC personnel oversee actual tests • Testers are unaware of reason for test • Testing is valid evidence in court • Tests reveal discrimination • Tests reveal unfounded complaints
Investigations • Gather documentary evidence • Interview witnesses • Conduct an on-site inspection
ADR • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) • Simultaneous with investigation • In-house ADR facilitators • Opportunity for parties to maintain some control over outcome • Evidence obtained during ADR proceeding is not available as evidence in investigation • Unique settlements may be drafted
Findings • No Reasonable Cause • Appeal within 15 days to ICRC seven-member commission • Reverse, sustain or remand for further investigation • Reasonable Cause • Either party may elect to go to State Court • If neither party elects, Commission will schedule an administrative hearing
Civil Penalties • Up to $11,000.00—1st offense • Up to $32,500.00—2nd offense within five (5) years • Up to $60,000.00—3rd offense within 7 years • Suspension of Professional License
Situation #1 • A tenant has a mental illness that causes hallucinations. At times the tenant hits the walls of the apartment. The Landlord wants to evict the tenant because the other renters are being disrupted and the tenant’s apartment is being damaged. What recourse does the landlord have? What if illegal drugs or alcohol cause the hallucinations?