June 2020 Coach's Quiz
We’ve given you six rules on how to avoid fair housing claims while dealing with COVID-19. Now let’s look at how the rules might apply in the real world. Take the COACH’s Quiz to see what you’ve learned.
INSTRUCTIONS: Each of the following questions has only one correct answer. On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, (1) b, (2) a, and so on. The correct answers (with explanations) follow the quiz. Good luck!
We recently rented an available unit to an employee’s daughter. Since we know the family, we were sure that the daughter didn’t have COVID-19. We have another unit available, but when an Asian American couple expressed interest, we told them that it was no longer available because we were worried that they might carry the virus. Because we had legitimate safety concerns for our actions, we can’t face a fair housing claim. True or false?
We just found out that a resident tested positive for COVID-19. We can’t get into fair housing trouble if we tell all the residents on her floor about it so they can take extra precautions to avoid exposure. True or false?
While our community was subject to restrictions imposed by the governor due to the COVID crisis in our state, we closed all our amenities, including the pool. A resident with disabilities said he needed to use the pool for his therapy. Despite our safety concerns, we must grant his request as a reasonable accommodation. True or false?
COACH’S ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rules #1 & #2 apply here:
Rule #1: Remember Fair Housing Requirements While Responding to COVID-2019
Rule #2: Comply with Laws Banning Discrimination and Harassment Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Fair housing law bans discrimination based on race and national origin, so it’s unlawful to exclude or otherwise discriminate against racial or ethnic minorities, even if motivated by concerns about COVID-19.
Reason: Rule #3 applies here:
Rule #3: Don’t Let Fear of Virus to Lead to Disability Discrimination Claims
In general, you may send a general notice to advise residents that there are active COVID cases at the community, but it’s not a good idea to disclose the names or unit numbers of people with the virus. Disclosure may not only violate the resident’s privacy, but also subject the resident to discrimination or harassment by others living at the community.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #4 applies here:
Rule #4: Carefully Consider Reasonable Accommodation Requests
Even though the resident’s request is related to a disability, fair housing law doesn’t require you to grant a request for a disability-related accommodation if it’s unreasonable—that is, it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the community or result in a fundamental alteration of its operations. In this case, his request to use the pool would probably be considered unreasonable—it would not only pose a direct threat of spreading the virus, but also impose an additional financial and administrative burden on the community to clean and sanitize the area around the pool after each use.