February 2023 Coach's Quiz
Okay, now it’s your turn. We’ve explained the seven rules to follow to manage the risk of liability for discrimination when seeking to exclude undocumented aliens and noncitizens. Let’s see how well you’ve learned the lesson. Take the Coach’s Quiz below to see if you can apply the rules to real-life situations. Each of the following questions has one and only one correct answer. Good luck!
Which of the following reasons is a legitimate reason to reject applicants who aren’t U.S. citizens?
a. Being a U.S. citizen is required for leasing property under HUD program rules and/or state or local law
b. A non-U.S. citizen is generally less likely to pay rent on time each month
c. Non-U.S. citizens are totally judgment-proof
Undocumented aliens have no rights under the FHA.
The fact that an individual doesn’t have an SSN is proof that they’re in the U.S. illegally.
COACH’S ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS
Correct answer: a
Reason: Rules #1 and #4 apply here:
Rule #1: Ensure Nondiscriminatory Justification for Citizenship Screening
Rule #4: Apply Your Normal Screening Standards to Immigrants
Denying housing to applicants because they’re non-U.S. citizens may constitute national origin, racial, or religious discrimination under the FHA; it may also be illegal under state or local fair housing laws. On the other hand, leasing to somebody you know not to be a U.S. citizen may violate Section 8 and other HUD program rules, as well as state and municipal laws.
What are landlords to do? The answer is to be aware of and follow whichever rules apply to their own property and ensure they have a sound, nondiscriminatory justification for whichever policy they choose. The fact that HUD program rules and/or state or local laws require landlords to verify that applicants are U.S. citizens before accepting them is a legitimate, nondiscriminatory justification. So, a is the right answer.
Wrong answers explained:
b. The assumption that noncitizens are less likely to pay rent is just that—an assumption, and one based on stereotypes. Consequently, it wouldn’t be a sound justification for requiring applicants to be U.S. citizens.
c. The reason c is wrong is that it’s overstated. While evicting or suing a noncitizen for lease violations poses challenges, it’s not accurate to characterize immigrants as “judgment-proof.” In fact, persons in the U.S. illegally are likely to be far more amenable to threats of litigation.
Correct answer: b
Reason: While it isn’t a protected class under the FHA, discriminating against persons because of their immigration status may constitute national origin, racial, or religious discrimination. If so, victims can bring legal actions under the FHA even if they’re in the U.S. illegally. In other words, FHA protections apply to all persons regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. That’s why HUD investigators don’t ask people about this when they file fair housing complaints.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #3 applies here:
Rule #3: Ask for the Right Kind of Proof
A valid SSN is proof of either U.S. citizenship or legal immigration status. However, people without an SSN may still be legal nonimmigrants who are in the country legally on a temporary basis for a specific purpose, such as to study. Such individuals would need an SSN only if they want to work in the U.S.
See The Lesson For This Quiz
|Illegal Immigration and Fair Housing Liability Risks|