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Lael Robertson Housing Discrimination Law Project Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis

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Title: Slide 1 Author: MLS Data Center User Last modified by: Lael Robertson Created Date: 4/18/2005 4:01:57 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lael Robertson Housing Discrimination Law Project Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis


1
Housing Discrimination and Fair Housing Laws
  • Lael Robertson Housing Discrimination Law
    Project Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis

2
Fair Housing Laws
  • Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of Civil Rights Act
    of 1968), 42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.
  • Minnesota Human Rights Act, 363A.01, et seq.
  • Local City Ordinances
  • ADA, Title VI, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
    Act, and various discrimination provisions in
    many other statutes

3
POP QUIZ!
4
Protected Classes
  • Fair Housing Act
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Familial Status

5
Protected Classes
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Familial Status
  • Minnesota Human Rights Act Adds
  • Creed
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Public Assistance Status

6
Protected Classes
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Familial Status
  • Creed
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Public Assistance Status
  • Minneapolis City Ordinance Adds
  • Ancestry

7
Protected Classes
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Familial Status
  • Creed
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Public Assistance Status
  • Ancestry
  • St. Paul City Ordinance Adds
  • Age

8
Discriminatory Actions
  • 3604
  • (a) Refusal to Rent or Negotiate or otherwise
    make unavailable (termination)
  • Because of
  • (b) Different Terms, Conditions or Privileges
  • Because of
  • (c) Advertising and Statements
  • because of vs. indicates no intent for
    advertising/statements
  • (d) Unavailability - Steering
  • (e) Blockbusting Inducement to Sell

9
Discriminatory Actions
  • 3617
  • Harassment intimidate or threaten
  • Interference
  • Retaliation
  • For complaining OR assisting

10
Familial StatusProtections for Families with
Children
  • Minor children in home
  • Typical Situations
  • Refusal to rent (if no exemption for Housing for
    Older Persons)
  • Steering
  • Banning children from use of facilities
  • Some legal no kids units HOPA
  • Have to meet guidelines for HOPA buildings

11
Special MN Protections for Families with Children
  • If in a legal no kids unit and there is
    pregnancy or adoption, landlord must
  • Give notice
  • MN Law - Give 6 or 12 month grace period before
    ending lease.

12
Discrimination Based on Sex Sexual Harassment
  • Illegal to treat people differently because of
    their gender.
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • sex for rent touching for application
  • Hostile Environment
  • Unwanted touching
  • Walking into apartment unannounced
  • Unwelcome personal comments and inquiries

13
Probably Not Discrimination
  • Poor Customer Service/Bad Attitude (EOA)
  • Refusal to rent because of bad rental history or
    credit (if standards are same for all and
    business-related.)
  • Eviction because of personality conflicts or
    neighbor complaints (if standards are same for
    all)
  • Refusal to rent without valid identification.

14
Reasonable Accommodations
  • 3604(f)(3)(B) - Landlord is required to make
    change in rules, policies, practices or services
    IF
  • Accommodation is necessary to give disabled
    person equal use and enjoyment of dwelling
  • AND
  • The change is not unreasonable

15
Accommodation is necessary to give disabled
person equal use and enjoyment of dwelling
  • Must have a connection to the disability
  • Example
  • Request for a designated parking space
  • Disability Paraplegic vs. Bipolar Disorder

16
Accommodation is necessary to give disabled
person equal use and enjoyment of dwelling
  • Must Have Disability or Handicap
  • 1. a physical or mental disability which
    materially (MN) or substantially (US) limits
    a major life activity.
  • 2. a record or history of a disability which
    limits a major life activity
  • 3. is regarded as having a disability that limits
    a major life activity.
  • New ADA AA states that those falling under 3
    are NOT entitled to reasonable accommodations

17
and the change is not unreasonable
  • Accommodation is not reasonable if
  • It changes the nature of the business OR
  • It imposes high financial AND administrative
    burden
  • (MN Cases OR)

18
Examples of Accommodations
  • Seeing eye dog OR companion animal in no pet
    building.
  • Forbearance of eviction after noise complaints.
  • Alternative tenant screening and admission
    practices (ex. - co-signer).

19
What is Unreasonable?
  • Seeing eye dog OK
  • 7 companion cats probably not.
  • Companion horse?

20
Unreasonable?
  • Assigned parking spot OK
  • build carport no.
  • Forbearance for noise OK
  • illegal drug activity tolerance no.
  • Late payment maybe
  • no payment no.

21
Denial of Reasonable Accommodation?
  • Violation of the FHA/MHRA!

22
Charging for RA?
  • NO!!!!!
  • No pet deposit for assistance animal
  • No fee for designated parking space

23
Reasonable Modifications
  • 3604(f)(3)(A) Modifications at tenants
    expense
  • Grab bars in bathroom, ramp, lowering the
    countertops
  • Federally funded housing Landlords expense

24
Post-1991 Accessible Design Requirements
  • Many multi-family buildings built after March
    1991 must have basic accessibility features
  • accessible routes into and within units (no
    steps, etc.),
  • accessible common use areas
  • usable doors
  • usable kitchens, baths
  • baths with reinforced shower/tub/bath walls
  • proper level for switches, controls outlets, etc.
  • See www.fairhousingfirst.org

25
Investigation - Testing
  • Discrimination Minnesota style
  • Bigotry with a smile
  • Secret Shoppers in Housing Market
  • Interested? Call Sonia 612.977.1805

26
Enforcement
  • Federal or State Court
  • Administrative Complaints
  • Federal Department of Housing and Urban
    Development (HUD)
  • State Minnesota Department of Human Rights
  • Complaint Process
  • Probable Cause Determination
  • ALJ
  • Appeals to Court of Appeals

27
Remedies
  • Damages
  • Compensatory
  • Out of pocket
  • Lost housing opportunity
  • Emotional distress, humiliation
  • Punitive (Judicial)
  • State Court Capped at 25,000
  • Federal Court No cap

28
Remedies
  • Civil Penalty (Administrative)
  • Injunctive Relief
  • Monitoring

29
Alternatives to Complaints and Court in Fair
Housing Cases
30
Downside of Going on the Attack
  • Landlord/Manager likely to get defensive
  • If client wants to continue to live there, may
    make environment tense or impossible
  • May pass up an opportunity to educate the
    management

31
Role of Advocate
  • Recognize fair housing issues when they come up
  • Identify clients goals
  • Can clients goals be achieved without formal
    complaint filed?
  • Does potential FH violation come from animus or
    ignorance?
  • Is the best option to work with management?

32
Contacts
  • West Metro Area - HDLP 612.334.5970
  • St. Cloud Central MN HDLP 888.360.3666
  • East South Metro Area - HELP 651.222.4731
  • Southern Minnesota - HELP 888.575.2954
  • lerobertson_at_midmnlegal.org
  • www.midmnlegal.org

33
  • When Justice Is Denied
  • Where Poverty Is Enforced
  • Where Ignorance Prevails and
  • Where Any One Class Is
  • Made To Feel That Society
  • Is in An Organized Conspiracy
  • To Oppress, Rob and Degrade Them,
  • Neither Persons Nor Property Will Be Safe.
  • Frederick Douglass, 1886
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