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Fair housing is the right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination.
As a landlord or property manager, this means you must treat people equally and make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Federal Fair Housing laws such as the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) protect people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex/gender, religion, handicap/disability and family status. In addition, different states and local governments around the country have supplementary protected classes. The Fair Housing Act attorneys at FMG can help you navigate through all Fair Housing laws.
FMG’s Fair Housing Act attorneys have represented landlords, property owners, property management companies, local governments, housing authorities, and their respective insurers in housing discrimination complaints, lawsuits, charges, and grievances across the country. Our experience has included the defense of administrative charges before the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and similar state agencies, private lawsuits provide by individuals allegedly denied fair housing, as well as high-exposure pattern and practice cases brought by the United States Department of Justice Housing and Civil Enforcement Division. In addition, our Fair Housing Act attorneys have extensive experience in handling “accessibility” lawsuits filed under Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our lawyers understand the unique challenges faced under federal and state fair housing laws, both in architectural compliance and policies and procedures to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled tenants and applicants.
In addition to litigation, we also work with our clients to proactively avoid discrimination through counseling, training, and compliance. A housing provider’s successful fair housing performance often depends upon effective policy development, training its employees on these policies, proper documentation of policies and training, and follow up supervision practices to ensure employees are complying with the policies. Our attorneys have been working together with our Firm’s clients to understand which policies are essential, and how those policies should be expressed or modified. We also work with our clients to ensure compliance with U.S.D.A. Rural Development regulations.
Efficient housing management oftentimes requires the use of effective forms. FMG’s Fair Housing Act attorneys are able to work with you to create forms that capture necessary information that will enable the housing provider to make determinations that address its residents’ concerns while documenting compliance with all applicable fair housing concerns. These forms include applications, screening policies, site-specific waiting lists, releases, reasonable accommodation requests, and verification forms, follow up verification forms, determination of whether a modification creates an undue administrative and financial burden or a fundamental alteration, accessibility checklists, and many more.