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Fair Housing Laws . Mawerdi Hamid Housing Discrimination Law Project Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Overview. A little History Fair Housing Basics Protected Classes Refusal to Rent and Negotiate Different Terms and Conditions Refusal to Grant Reasonable Accommodations Questions?.

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fair housing laws

Fair Housing Laws

Mawerdi Hamid

Housing Discrimination Law Project

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

overview
Overview
  • A little History
  • Fair Housing Basics
    • Protected Classes
    • Refusal to Rent and Negotiate
    • Different Terms and Conditions
    • Refusal to Grant Reasonable Accommodations
  • Questions?
generally speaking
Generally Speaking . . .
  • Unlawful to take adverse action in housing based on protected class status.
    • Fair Housing Act – 42 U.S.C. 3601 et. seq.
    • Minnesota Human Rights Act – Minn. Stat. 363A.01 et seq.
    • Local Ordinances
protected class status fair housing act
Protected Class Status – Fair Housing Act
  • 1. Race or color
  • 2. Religion
  • 3. Sex
  • 4. Familial Status
  • 5. National Origin
  • 6. Disability

42 U.S.C. §3604(a)

minnesota human rights act minn stat 363a
Minnesota Human Rights ActMinn. Stat. §363A

Adds

  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
adverse actions include
Adverse Actions Include . . .
  • Refusal to Rent/Negotiate/Otherwise Make Unavailable
  • Different Terms and Conditions
  • Refusal to Allow Reasonable Accommodations
  • Also:
    • Discriminatory Statements/Advertising
    • Blockbusting
    • Discriminatory Transactions
adverse actions

Adverse Actions

Refusal to rent, negotiate or otherwise make unavailable

outright refusals are relatively rare
Outright refusals are relatively rare
  • More common techniques:
    • Burdensome application

process

    • Delay
    • Discouraging an applicant
    • No return phone call
adverse actions1

Adverse Actions

Different terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities

terms and conditions
Terms and Conditions
  • Damage Deposit
  • Application Fees
  • Credit Checks
  • Late fees
  • Repair requests
  • Guests
  • Rent Amounts
  • Appliances
  • Amenities
  • Fines
  • Closing costs
discrimination based on sex
Discrimination based on Sex
  • Quid Pro Quo
    • Sex or touching for rent or application
  • Hostile Environment
    • Unwanted touching
    • Walking into apartment unannounced
    • Unwelcome personal comments and inquiries
protected or not protected
Protected or Not Protected?

Victims of Domestic Violence

protected class status
Protected Class Status
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
protected or not protected1
Protected or Not Protected?

Applicant with a criminal background

protected class status1
Protected Class Status
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
protected or not protected2
Protected or Not Protected?

Resident who speaks Spanish

protected class status2
Protected Class Status
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
protected or not protected3
Protected or Not Protected?

Resident with Chemical Dependency

protected class status3
Protected Class Status
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
reasonable accommodations
Reasonable Accommodations
  • Landlord is required to make change in rules, policies, practices or services IF:
    • Accommodation may be necessary to give disabled person equal use and enjoyment of dwelling

AND

    • The change is not unreasonable
reasonable accommodations 4 step analysis
Reasonable Accommodations – 4 Step Analysis
  • Must Have Disability
  • Accommodation may be necessary to use and enjoyment of dwelling
  • Accommodation will help overcome effects of disability (nexus)
  • Accommodation is reasonable
unreasonable requests
“Unreasonable” Requests
  • Impose an undue financial and administrative burden; OR
  • Require a fundamental alteration in the nature of the housing provider’s operations
protected or not protected4
Protected or Not Protected?

Resident with

a dog

protected class status4
Protected Class Status
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Status with regard to public assistance
  • Sexual orientation
  • Creed
protected or not protected6
Protected or Not Protected?

Animals for Emotional Support?

dog hypothetical
Dog Hypothetical
  • Apartment management has a “no pet” policy
  • A tenant asks for a reasonable accommodation that his dog, Spot, be allowed to move in.
  • Tenant has a letter from a doctor stating that the dog helps comfort client because of his depression.
  • Is this a reasonable accommodation?
reasonable accommodations 4 step analysis1
Reasonable Accommodations – 4 Step Analysis
  • Must Have Disability
  • Accommodation may be necessary to use and enjoyment of dwelling
  • Accommodation will help overcome effects of disability (nexus)
  • Accommodation is reasonable
protected or not protected7
Protected or Not Protected?

Resident with multiple dogs

probably not discrimination
Probably not Discrimination
  • Poor customer service/bad attitude
  • Refusal to rent because of bad rental history or credit (if standards are the same for all)
  • Eviction because of personality conflicts or neighbor complaints
  • Refusal to rent without valid identification
familial status discrimination
Familial Status Discrimination

Refusal to rent, steering, strict occupancy limits, ban from facilities, segregation, limited to lower floors, higher security deposit

familial status
“Familial Status”
  • Familial Status
    • One or more individuals under the age of 18 being domiciled with a parent,
      • A person having legal custody of such individuals, or
      • The designee of such parent or legal custodian
    • A person who is pregnant or who is about to secure legal custody of someone under the age of 18.
special mn protection
Special MN Protection
  • If in a “legal” no kids unit and there is pregnancy or adoption, during tenancy landlord must:
    • Allow 12 months until end of tenancy and
    • Give 6 month written notice
  • Note: may be different if city or state occupancy code is violated
familial status discrimination1
Familial Status Discrimination
  • Exemption for Housing with Older Persons (HOPA)
    • The FHA exempts HOPA from its prohibitions against familial status discrimination
  • Purpose: to insure that the FHA’s familial status prohibition do not unfairly limit the housing choice of older persons
proving discrimination
Proving Discrimination
  • 1. Disparate Treatment Cases
    • Prima Facie Case of Discrimination
    • Mixed Motive Cases
  • 2. Disparate Impact Cases
    • Discriminatory Effect
    • Perpetuation of Segregation
    • Standard: business necessity sufficiently compelling to justify practice
  • 3. Testing
enforcement
Enforcement
  • 1. Administrative Agency Complaint
    • HUD, MDHR
    • P/c determination
    • Administrative Judge
    • Appeal to Court of Appeals
  • 2. State/Federal Court Complaint
  • 3. Attorney General
    • Pattern of practice
remedies
Remedies
  • Actual Damages
  • Compensatory Damages: lost housing opportunity
  • Emotional Distress: includes humiliation
  • Punitive Damages: if intentional
  • Civil Penalties
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Mentoring
  • Fair Housing Training