Fair Housing:An Overview of Selected TopicsA joint project of the Advocacy Center and the Human Development Center of LSU Heath Sciences Center The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a Grantwith the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
What Laws Protect You? What is the definition of “Disability”? Does Your Home Count? How is Unlawful Discrimination Defined? What Does “Reasonable Accommodations” Mean? What Are “Reasonable Modifications”? What is the Architectural Blueprint of an Accessible Home? What Resources are Available for Affordable Housing? What Options are Available to Enforce Fair Housing? Session Scope and Sequence
Fair Housing Awareness Quiz Activity 1, Side 1
Module 1 What Laws Protect You?
History Civil Rights Protection Benchmarks and Timelines Federal, State, and Local Statutes that Protect Against Disability Discrimination in Housing
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (Fair Housing Act or FHA)* Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act Local Laws Statutes That Protect Against Disability Discrimination
Illegal to discriminate in any program or activity “receiving Federal financial assistance” Includes public housing & Section 8 project–based housing Does not include private housing with tenant using a Section 8 Voucher Section 504
Sweeping protections for people with disabilities in areas of employment, public services, and public accommodations Does not cover privately owned housing, but can be applied in certain landlord situations ADA
Public Accommodations (Title III) Applications Rental office in an apartment complex must be accessible Housing that is not permanent, such as hotels and shelters, may not be covered under the FHA but would be under the ADA ADA (continued)
Public Services (Title II) Applications Housing that receives financial assistance from local governments, but not the federal government, is subject to ADA & FHA ADA (continued)
Illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, color, national origin, and religion (1968) Protected class added based on sex (1974) Amendments added familial status and disability as protected classes (1988) Broadest fair housing statute (*will be focus of session) Fair Housing Act*
Equivalent to FHA Includes the same 7 protected classes of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act
Orleans Parish Adds four protected classes: sexual orientation, gender identification, marital status, and age Broader group protected based on listing of physical condition, as well as disability New Orleans Human Relations Commission 504.658.4020 Local Laws
Module 2 What is the Definition of “Disability”
Possibility that more than one form of discrimination can occur in any transaction 7 protected groups Protected Groups Under the Federal Fair Housing Act
Race Color National Origin Religion Sex Familial Status Disability Protected Groups
Physical/Mental impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities Having a record of an impairment Being regarded as having an impairment Definition of Disability Under Federal FHA
Remember: If this definition is NOT met, then NONE of the protections related to disability under the Fair Housing Act will apply Caution: If the impairment can be corrected, for example, in the way that near-sightedness can be corrected with prescription glasses or lenses, then it MAY NOT meet the disability definition Disability
Physical Impairment: Limited vision, hearing, or mobility (use of wheelchairs, canes, walkers), infectious diseases (including HIV and AIDS), etc. Mental Impairment: Mental retardation, emotional/mental illness, specific learning disabilities, organic brain syndrome, etc. Major Life Activity: Walking, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, working, or caring for yourself Examples
Persons who meets the disability definition Parents on behalf of their child who meets the disability definition Housing providers prevented from building/operating housing Anyone if housing is denied for association with person who meets disability definition Fair housing organizations Who Can Sue Under the FHA
Persons without a disability seeking claim of reverse discrimination Persons addicted to drugs who are current users of illegal drugs Who Cannot Sue Under the FHA
Module 3 Does Your Home Count?
“Dwellings” (exemptions) All real estate-related transactions Covered Under FHA
“Dwellings” Generally defined as a structure or portion thereof designed or intended to be occupied as a residence by one or more families, including vacant land to be used for the construction of such Regulations include mobile home parks, trailer courts, condominiums, cooperatives, and time shares Covered Housing
“Dwellings” (continued) Courts have upheld group homes, homeless shelters, nursing homes, retirement communities, college dormitories, boarding houses, and temporary housing for seasonal farm workers Some accessibility requirements only apply to certain “covered multifamily dwellings,” as defined by the FHA. Exemptions will be addressed later when we cover accessibility requirements. Covered Housing (continued)
Rental Sales Lending Insurance Zoning Practices Covered Real Estate Transactions
“We don’t have anything against people with Alzheimer's, but we just don’t want a commercial business in our neighborhood.” “What if they get out and hurt themselves?” “Aren’t some of those people [with mental retardation] pedophiles?” “We can’t have a hospice for people with AIDS across the street from our church. What if our children get infected?” Zoning Comment Examples
The FH Amendments Act, like Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a clear pronouncement of a national commitment to end the unnecessary exclusion of person with handicaps from the American mainstream. It repudiates the use of stereotypes and ignorance, and mandates that persons with handicaps be considered as individuals. Generalized perceptions about disabilities and unfounded speculation about threats to safety are specifically rejected as grounds to justify exclusion. 1988 Amendment to the FHA
The right to be free from housing discrimination is essential to the goal of independent living. H.Rep.No.100-711, 100th Cong., 2d Session, 18, reprinted in 1988 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News, 2173, 2179 (footnote omitted). 1988 Amendment to the FHA(continued)
The Act is intended to prohibit the application of special requirements through land-use regulations, restrictive covenants, and conditional or special use permits that have the effect of limiting the ability of such individuals to live in the residence of their choice in the community. Id. At 24. 1988 Amendment to the FHA(continued)
The Olmstead Decision (U.S. Supreme Court, June, 1999) Interpreted the ADA as requiring that states administer their services, programs, and activities “in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.” More Recent Legal Development Effecting Zoning Practices
Fair Housing Awareness Quiz Activity 1, Side 2
Module 4 How is Unlawful Discrimination Defined?
First, be sure that person qualifies for protection because the definition of disability is met under the FHA Second, be sure that the type of housing is covered under the FHA Next, figure out whether what is happening is discrimination Unlawful Discrimination Under the FHA
Discriminatory Intent Motivating reason behind discrimination is disability Disparate Impact Use of policy/rule results in discriminatory effect Types of Unlawful Discrimination Under the Fair Housing Act
Nothing in this subsection requires that a dwelling be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others. 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(9) Threat to Health and Safety of Others under the FHA(Direct Threat Exception)
Deny housing based on disability Ask about disability or medication during application process Refuse to sell based on disability Evict based on disability Examples of Unlawful Discrimination Based on Disability
Enact zoning ordinances based on disability stereotypes Discourage based on disability Steer based on disability Provide different terms and conditions based on disability Examples of Unlawful Discrimination Based on Disability (continued)
Misrepresent availability because of disability Intimidation and harassment Indicate a preference based on disability Examples of Unlawful Discrimination Based on Disability (continued)
3604 (c) • 3604 (c) makes it illegal 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 basedon a protected class status.
Disability Discrimination: Hypotheticals Activity 2
Module 5 What Does “Reasonable Accommodation” Mean?
It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use areas.(emphasis added) 24 C.F.R. §100.204 (1/23/89) Affirmative Duty of Reasonable Accommodation
Reasonable Must be practical and feasible Not cause undue administrative or financial burden Not cause fundamental alteration in program Necessary Must be essential for the use/enjoyment of dwelling Handicapped Must meet definition of disability Accommodations
Accommodation Relates to the alteration or change of a rule, policy, practice, or service Modification Relates to the removal of physical barriers Accommodation vs. Modification
Waiving a rule against non-tenants using the laundry room to allow a family member to do a tenant’s laundry Allowing a tenant with a disability to have a live-in aide Waiving late charges and penalties when a disability requires early termination of a lease Waiving a requirement for prior rental history Accommodations That MIGHT BE Reasonable
Moving homeowner’s association meeting from an inaccessible location Removal of mold from apartment if the person has asthma or pulmonary disease Allow companion animal to reside with individual with mental illness, despite a no-pets policy Accommodations That MIGHT BE Reasonable (continued)
Allowing an individual with a mobility impairment to mail any required documents rather than presenting them in person Relocation to first floor apartment instead of second floor if resident develops a mobility impairment Accommodations That MIGHT BE Reasonable (continued)
Continuing to rent to a tenant who poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, after attempts at reasonable accommodations have been made Waiving fees that apply to everyone, such as a monthly parking fee Offering supportive services that would not otherwise be available Accommodation Requests That MIGHT NOT BE Reasonable