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COVID-19 INFORMATION

Webinars

The recorded webinars found on this page are designed to increase awareness about citizen’s rights and access to educational materials regarding discrimination.

 

 

Additional Q&A from the Fair Housing and Evictions webinar from November 17, 2020:

Q1: Must landlord provide essential services even when tenant pays utilities, but has stopped paying them?

Answer: Yes. A landlord’s duty to provide and maintain essential services is a separate duty from the tenant’s obligation to remit payment for utilities. This situation would need to be addressed by the courts, and the landlord is prohibited from engaging in actions which would rise to the level of an unlawful ouster or constructive eviction. For example, a landlord is prohibited from disconnecting the utilities.

Q2: Can a landlord accurately and helpfully express that a house is too small for such a large family?

Answer: No. This is a direct violation of the fair housing act, and on its face, the comment appears to be not only discriminatory, but also inflammatory. I would personally argue that this is housing discrimination based on familial status. There is no barometer for a landlord to “accurately” express that a house is too small for any given family.

Q3:
Can a landlord lawfully express “I want to continue to accept applications and see if I get a better applicant”?

Answer: No. This statement appears to be discriminatory on its face. What is the landlord’s definition of “better applicant”? Does the landlord mean an individual who does not identify as an ethnic minority? Is the landlord intending to discriminate against individuals with known or perceived disabilities? Not only is the statement inflammatory, it’s immoderately insensitive.

Q4: Must you act on all complaints or do you have discretion if a claim is obviously bogus to you?

Answer: It depends on what you mean by "act on". We do have to give everyone information on the Fair Housing Act, but we do not have to represent them.   And in fact, we do not accept most people who call in for a fair housing complaint for representation, because most either don't have a fair housing complaint, they are just calling a landlord tenant issue a fair housing issue, or they don't have any evidence to prove their complaint and we
know it would be a waste of resources to file.  Now with that being said, if someone calls and has already filed a complaint and received a cause finding, we do take those cases regardless of what we would have done at the beginning if they had called in.  We have that policy for two reasons.  First, because at that point, they have already established sufficient evidence to satisfy investigators and attorney, which is not easy to do at all, as most cases end in a no cause finding.  And second, it is also much better for everyone involved for the person to have an attorney.