Hot Button Issues in Fair Housing Law

In the June 2019 lesson, Fair Housing Coach highlighted three hot button fair housing issues that have been generating a lot of activity in the courts and federal enforcement agencies.

Among other things, the lesson focused on tenant-on-tenant harassment. Federal fair housing law bans not only sexual harassment, but also harassment based on race, national origin, or other protected characteristics. As a general rule, community owners may be liable for illegal harassment by managers or employees, when they knew or should have known about it but failed to do enough to stop it.

You don’t have only your employees or other staff member to worry about—you could face liability for tenant-on-tenant harassment under certain circumstances. The lesson reviewed HUD regulations—and a recent court ruling—indicating that housing providers may be liable under fair housing law for failure to take prompt action to correct and end a discriminatory housing practice by a third party, where they knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct and had the power to correct it.

UPDATE: Earlier this year, a court ruled that a New York community could be liable under the FHA for an alleged campaign of racial harassment against an African-American resident by his neighbor. A month later, however, the court withdrew its opinion in this case without explanation. The Coach will continue to monitor and provide updates of ongoing developments on this important fair housing issue [Francis v. King Park Manor, Inc., New York, April 2019].

For more information, see the Coach’s June lesson, “Hot Topics in Fair Housing Law,” available to subscribers here.