Affirmitively Furthering Fair Housing - October 04, 2011

What is your role in affirmatively furthering fair housing?  Many people don’t know what it means to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH).  The Department of Housing and Urban Development says it involves analyzing local laws, practices, and policies, as well as identifying any obstacles people may face in obtaining, enjoying, and maintaining their housing.  HUD also looks at the choices available, and the condition of both private, and public housing.  The goal of AFFH is to remove any obstacles people face.  There are eight prohibited practices according to the Fair Housing Act:

  1. Refusing to rent or sell or to negotiate for the rental or sale of a dwelling
  2.  Subjecting persons to different terms, conditions and privileges
  3. Limiting housing choice by word or conduct
  4. Otherwise make housing unavailable
  5. Misrepresenting the availability of a dwelling
  6. Making, printing or publishing discriminatory ads, notices or statements
  7. Discriminating on the basis of disability
  8. Retaliation

The Fair Housing Act assumes that the persons are otherwise qualified to do business. This means that if someone has met the income and credit requirements as well as passing the background check (and/or other legitimate business requirements a property may have), what reason is there NOT to do business?  If the reason is even partially based on one of the protected characteristics, it could be a violation of Fair Housing Law.  It is also important to mention most people are born with 4 if not 5 of the protected characteristics, which are: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and families with children.  So what is your role in AFFH?  If you find that yours, or others rights have been violated, or you have suspicions or questions, document it, and contact us for support.  We are here to be a resource for you.  Please visit us online at www.swfhc.com

Jay-Z's Housing Troubles - September 12, 2011

"According to FoxNews, Jay-Z’s legal team is accused of harassing the tenants in a Philadelphia luxury building. Jay-Z and the company SCC North American Realty, LLC, own and operate a 24-unit condominium complex.

The tenants there are claiming that they are being forced out of their homes with frivolous lawsuits and other harassment tactics. Over half have already been forced out. Several of the tenants in this building have contacted FoxNews to report the unfair treatment they have been receiving.

Liza Tedeschi who used to be a tenant of this building told FoxNews.com, “I’ve been in tears over this… They filed a lawsuit against me knowing that I had paid the rent. The lawyer admitted it to me, yet they still filed the lawsuit against me. It’s total and utter harassment.” Tedeschi even said the legal team went as far as giving out the personal cell phone number of apartments that were not for sale to realtors."

The previous was a quote from 1023 radio.com, where you can find the rest of the story by clicking the link at the end of this post.

What I would like to point out here is the fact that whether or not the owner has knowledge of what their maintenance, leasing, or property management staff are doing, the owner is still responsible for upholding Fair Housing Laws in multi-housing properties.  Based on this report, there may not be any indications of Fair Housing Issues involved.  There are alleged landlord tenant issues, but no one has claimed being apart of a protected class as an issue. It is good however, to know your rights and responsibilities as a property owner, even if you are simply renting out a room in your home.

For more information about Fair Housing,or to attend a free class, continue to explore this site and use the resources available here.

Read more: Landlord Jay-Z’s Tenant Troubleshttp://thenewx1023.radio.com/2011/09/08/landlord-jay-zs-tenant-troubles/#ixzz1XOOpo1O2

Need Landlord Tenant Assistance? - September 06, 2011

Do you have Landlord Tenant questions?  Learn your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or as a tenant.  Our Landlord Tenant Self-help Resource center is designed to:

  • Answer landlord/tenant questions
  • Inform landlords/tenants of their housing rights/responsibilitits
  • Provide documents and forms that help protect tenants rights and that inform landlords of their responsibilities

Come visit our Landlord Tenant Resource Centerlocated at 2030 E. Broadway, ste 101; Tucson, AZ 85719. You can also click this linkhttp://www.swfhc.com to access resources online.

What's Going On? - July 05, 2011

When I hear the phrase, "What's goin' on?"  I think of the Marvin Gaye song.  If you don't know it, or would like to listen again, click here:http://www.jango.com/music/Marvin+Gaye?l=0.  The whole song seems to be relevant today, just as the Civil Rights act of 1968 (Title 7, the Fair Housing Act) is still relevant today.  The song was released in 1971, only 3 years after the Fair Housing Act was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.  Until 1968, African-Americans, and other non-White races were not afforded the opportunity to live wherever they choose to, even though they qualified according to legitimate business reasons such as income.  It's amazing because that's only 6 years before I was born.  My parents bought their house in 1975 in a predominately Caucasian neighborhood.  There were 3 minority families, 2 African American families and one Vietnamese family.  Persons with disabilities didn't have rights until 1973 with the rehabilitation act.  If you would like more information on the various acts, and provisions under this act, please follow this link: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUDsrc=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/FHLaws

It is important to remember that EVERYONE is covered by the Fair Housing Act.  If you are human you are covered.  Most people are born with 4 of the 7 protected classes (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status).  If you feel your rights have been violated, please feel free to contact us.

How does discrimination really affect us? - June 04, 2011

Here's how just the knowledge of housing discrimination has affected one of our clients:

"When I was looking to build my home, I wanted to be sure to find a neighborhood that had good schools, was clean and had nice features such as sports parks, open grassy areas, large homes, reputable builder and was well kept.  I found a community that has lakes, and spent much time in the area.  I decided to build a 4 br 2.5 bath home on a nice large lot.  When I discovered (after my neighbors homes were completed) that several of my neighbors are also black, and from the east coast, I thought that was nice.  However, I was concerned, and hoped the neighborhood would be and remain mostly white.  Why?  Because I know the perceptions out there.  The historic pattern is that homes (neighborhoods if you will) belonging to white people are worth more than black people, and the perception that black people will "bring down the value of your home" is pervasive.  Though I know race and color are not legitimate reasons that go into home prices, it's still a very real problem none the less."

This experience is understandable.  Let's take a look at history.  Until 1949, when Shelley v. Kraemer made the use of racially restrictive covenants unconstitutional, the Federal Housing Authority's "Underwriting Manual" openly stated that "if a neighborhood is to retain stability, it is necessary that properties shall continue to be occupied by the same social and racial classes."  Further,  "Restrictive covenants" forbade the conveyance of property to non-Whites and could be attached to the home's title.  These race "directives" remained in federal housing policy until Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act in 1968.  71% of tangible  personal wealth, comes from home ownership.  No wonder poverty and minorities are so closely tied, no wonder there are ghettos, no wonder there is a home ownership gap of whites to minorities. 

 The cost of un-fair housing for many, is tied to the very home we live in, even though our fair housing rights have not  been personally, or directly violated.