Fair Housing And Elections

Fox Rothschild LLP

Fox Rothschild LLP

All right. A couple of readers have asked me to comment on the November 2020 presidential election and what, if anything, the election may mean for fair housing. While I desperately try to avoid politics here at the Fair Housing Defense Blog, this is what I can report. Our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) was passed back in 1968. It was amended in 1974 and then again in 1988. In short, the FHA has been enforced by multiple Democratic and Republican administrations. That will not change. Professional apartment management must still comply with the law concerning the seven protected classes in the statute. Those type of discrimination cases continue on regardless of which political party is in charge. Please understand that HUD will also still fund local fair housing groups and housing discrimination cases will still be filed.

I view my job as calling balls and strikes. I dislike ambiguity in the law as it makes our work harder. Now, as administrations come and go, there can certainly be changes with respect to certain points of emphasis: for example, how “disparate impact” is defined and investigated by the government is different in 2020 than it was in 2014. Another change has been how HUD has written the rules for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Given where we are in the world with the pandemic, I would also hope for more guidance concerning assistance animals generally and specifically what type of telemedicine/internet medical verifications are considered appropriate.

And even if there is a change in how federal law is enforced, always remember that each state (as well as many cities, counties, and even localities) have adopted their own laws preventing housing discrimination. Indeed, many of the state and local laws contain additional protected classes (such as source of income, LGBTQ, and age to name a handful). It remains incumbent on management to ensure we know the laws of the jurisdictions in which we do business.

But know if there ever is a substantive change in the law, you will read about it here.

Just A Thought.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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