Entries by Sean Doyle

Do We Have to Allow Criminals As Tenants? HUD Says Maybe.

Now that the Supreme Court has definitively ruled that disparate impact claims are valid under the Fair Housing Act (discussed in further detail here), HUD has issued guidance regarding one common multifamily property policy that it believes has a discriminatory effect on minorities—criminal background screening. In light of statistics demonstrating that African Americans and Hispanics […]

We’re Going To Be Tested On This?!

The Increasing Prevalence of Testing Under The Fair Housing Act As landlords and management companies, I understand that you want to treat people fairly, and that you strive to stay within the confines of the Fair Housing Act.  Unfortunately, I have seen many well-intentioned owners and management companies caught off-guard by a housing discrimination claim […]

The Anatomy Of A Disparate Impact Claim

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Community Projects, Inc. , it’s pretty clear that disparate impact claims are valid under the Fair Housing Act.  But the question remains:  how exactly does a disparate impact claim work?  And is it as draconian for landlords and […]

The Exception To The General Rule: Who Pays For Reasonable Modifications That Should Have Already Been Part Of The Property

As I have discussed in a previous post (The Differences Between Accommodations and Modifications Under the Fair Housing Act), the general rule under the federal Fair Housing Act is that the requesting tenant is responsible for the costs associated with a reasonable modification (meaning a structural change) to the property.  But what happens when a […]

The Do’s and Don’ts of Verifying Reasonable Accommodation Requests

One common question from landlords and property managers is whether they are permitted to request supporting information from tenants who have made an accommodation request under the federal Fair Housing Act.  The stakes for owners and property managers here are high—a single misstep can lead to a costly discrimination claim. Thankfully, HUD—the Department of Housing […]

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds “Disparate Impact” Claims Under The Fair Housing Act

Although it was largely overshadowed by more publicized rulings involving the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality, the U.S. Supreme Court also issued a key decision involving the Fair Housing Act last week.  In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the Supreme Court ruled that parties may bring “disparate […]

Not So Fast! Think Twice Before Denying An Assistance Animal Request Based On Breed

Landlords and property managers often wonder whether they can deny a resident’s fair housing accommodation request for an assistance animal because the animal is on a “restricted breeds” list.  The short answer is “no.”  Or, perhaps more accurately, “probably not.” The federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., requires that properties make […]