Fair Housing Claim


#1

So here is the deal. I hope some of you can help me out. About 7 months ago we decided to work on the aesthetics of our community and found a few SW with rusty metal roofs and a few needing outside painting. We then offered our tenants a few options including free materials and you do it, do it yourself (your own expense) or we will help you finance at cost over 12 months. We gave them a month notice and another month to comply as required by law. Most were fine and agreed to one or another option, BUT this one tenant. Since we have a month-to-month lease and after friendly reminders and notices we decided to end his lease and thereafter filed eviction (since he did not move at the end of the lease(. Here is the “thing”: He filed a complaint to the Fair Housing Authority on basis of refusal to rent because of family and race issues. Fair housing authority set 100 days (as long as he pays rent) for “investigation” so he stayed at the park bragging about winning the case and encouraging others to try as well. During this time the investigators have been to the park asking questions to tenants about everything! The 100 day is up and i have court date in a few days. Say, the judge want to proceed with further investigation, am i still able to get this guy out of my park since I have a month-month lease? Do i have to keep him in the park? I really want him out asap. My attorney, after reviewing his claims and stuff advised me to answer to investigators and take it easy because she felt there was no ground for “discrimination”. Anyone with similar experience and any advise will be really appreciated.


#2

If you haven’t evicted the person yet I don’t understand what their claim is… I thought these typically happened AFTER you evict someone, and should not be a dependency to evict them.

What did your attorney advise you to do? Keep us posted what happens…


#3

@jhutson We initiated the eviction process b/o month-month lease non renewal. Gave him 30 day notice, certified mail and the whole 9 yards. Knowing that, he filed the claim and judge granted 100 days for the investigation as requested by Fair Housing. Attorney advised us to cooperate with the investigation in a timely manner and be available for whatever needed. She felt there was no need for her specialized job so early. She said it was very common for this kind of claims and not to worry at this point.
Tenant claims we refuse to rent because of his country of origin, race or whatever other reason he could find and I guess he has the right to request an investigation. The truth is he does not want to comply with the changes like the rest of our residents and is using his “rights” to stay. We will see what happens at court in a few days. I’ll keep you posted.


#4

Be prepared to tell the story CLEARLY to the judge. Do it CLEARLY in writing. Then be prepared to TELL it out loud also. Some judges read, some listen, and you don’t know which, so be prepared.

The STORY you need to tell is the truth, how you’re working your butt off to make this community safe and clean and a great place to live for the residents, and you don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want that, and everyone but this guy has been working hard to make their homes and homesites look better. For some reason this guy refused to join his neighbors in making things look better, so you evicted him. End of story. You could care less about his color, race, religion, age, gender, familial status. You just want residents who keep things looking good, and are reasonably quiet and courteous to their neighbors, and pay on time. That’s it. They can be green, blue, or any color, as long as they do those things.

In a nutshell, that’s how to run a park. Never discuss protected Fair Housing category information about anyone, because really, who cares? Discrimination has no place in our society, and certainly not in housing. Instead, focus on what every housing provider cares about: Residents who pay on time, keep their homesite and the exterior of their home looking good, and are good neighbors who don’t disturb the community with loud music or speeding or other rule-breaking. Anyone who won’t comply SHOULD be evicted, because it’s not fair to all the residents who work hard to pay for a quiet, clean, safe place to live.


#5

Awesome! I will update. Court date tomorrow! Thank you again


#6

What are the basis of the discrimination?


#7

Do you have written and justified policies and procedures regarding Fair Housing/ADA et al? That certainly will help and will also help you avoid federal problems. HUD actually requires you have these.

Also, make sure your legal representation is up to the task on this. Since this is an area our consulting company helps community owners with, we keep up with what is going on all over the country. We have seen far too many lawsuits and court actions botched by attorneys that don’t understand the intent of the law and their arguments were defective.


#8

All done and tenant evicted. Judge told him the lease he signed was a month to month and even if he was the “perfect tenant” a 30 day notice to end the lease was enough. Heard nothing about human affair investigation or result. All in all I think this is the best that could have happened to us.


#9

Congratulations! Unfortunately, other community owners have not be so lucky.


#10

Thank you! Honesty and Integrity will always win I guess. If we follow the law we have nothing to be afraid off. Most importantly in our business month to month lease is the way to go and following the system. In my state you can only be evicted by 1. no payment, 2. not following the law/rules and regs and 3. end of lease. No questions about that for the judges.