Winter 2020 newsletter now available
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The latest edition of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s newsletter is now available to download.
The newsletter has information about National Association of REALTORS® adding hate speech as a prohibited activity, Women’s Council of REALTORS® annual Fair Housing Month Celebration, and an update on MVFHC’s Fair Housing Month Celebration.
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MVFHC and woman living with disabilities file lawsuit against Audubon Crossing
January 14, 2021 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) and Latisha Martin have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Audubon Crossing Apartments and Woda Cooper Companies engaged in discrimination in violation of federal law.
Ms. Martin has been a resident of Audubon Crossing since April 2019. She uses a power wheelchair for mobility and has limited use of her limbs. Starting in March 1, 2019, Ms. Martin submitted and re‑submitted requests for reasonable accommodation and/or modification but faced repeated denials from Woda Cooper. Installation of a door opener was finally completed in July 2020.
MVFHC assisted Ms. Martin in filing an administration complaint with the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council (HRC), a HUD-funded Fair Housing Assistance Program. HRC found probably cause that disability discrimination had occurred against Ms. Martin and that MVFHC had diverted resources and had its mission to eliminate housing discrimination frustrated by Woda Cooper’s actions.
The lawsuit asserts that Ms. Martin and MVFHC both merit compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. For more information, read the complete news release.
The National Fair Housing Alliance on Nationwide Preliminary Injunction Blocking HUD’s New Disparate Impact Rule
Washington, D.C. — Today, Lisa Rice, CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, released the following statement on an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which enjoined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing its Final Rule on Disparate Impact.
“We applaud the decision by the federal court to halt HUD’s implementation of its Final Rule on Disparate Impact. The Rule, which was to take effect today, would have made it exceedingly difficult for victims of discrimination to fight systemic racism and discriminatory policies by housing providers, financial institutions and insurance companies. This decision ensures people can continue relying on the Fair Housing Act to protect them from discrimination.
“We commend the efforts of the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, Housing Works, Inc. and their counsel, Lawyers for Civil Rights and Anderson & Kreiger, LLP, in achieving this important victory
“NFHA and its members have worked for over a year to keep HUD from weakening this critical fair housing protection. When HUD proposed to rewrite the 2013 disparate impact rule adopted by the Obama administration, which incorporated a longstanding standard to redress structural barriers to housing opportunity, over 45,000 comments were submitted in response. HUD’s new Final Rule represents yet another example of the Trump administration’s racist policies and continued attacks on civil rights.
“After HUD adopted the Final Rule last month, NFHA filed one of the three federal lawsuits challenging it. Preserving the disparate impact tool is vital for protecting the rights of women, people of color, families with children, survivors of domestic violence and sexual harassment, and people with disabilities. We continue to oppose its implementation and will continue to fight for fair housing rights for all.”
National Fair Housing Alliance Challenges Harmful Trump Administration Reversal of Fair Housing Rule
Lawsuit to Fight Ruthless Rollback of Equal Housing Protections
Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, and BLDS, LLC filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) recent reversal of long standing fair housing protections. The suit challenges HUD’s new “disparate impact” rule, which will make it exceedingly hard for victims of discrimination to fight against systemic racism and discriminatory policies by housing providers, financial institutions, and insurance companies that deprive people of the opportunities and services they need.
The Trump administration rewrote the 2013 “disparate impact” rule adopted by the Obama administration, which included the well-accepted, standard approach to claims using this civil rights enforcement tool. It has been in place for almost 50 years to tackle structural barriers that unfairly lock people out of the housing and lending opportunities they deserve. The new rule is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to strip away protections for vulnerable communities. Its harmful action comes as the nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout, and as we confront structural inequality and racial disparities that pervade every aspect of society.
“We will not let the Trump administration get away with its disastrous decision to strip civil rights protections from people who need it most,” stated Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). “The disparate impact tool is critical for challenging systemic barriers that block too many people from the housing and lending opportunities they deserve. It is also essential for tackling bias in the technologies used to determine who can rent an apartment, get a mortgage loan, or insure a home. This new rule goes back on everything the Fair Housing Act was created to address. NFHA is going to use every option we have to fight this rule and defend women, people with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, people of color, families with children and others who should not have to endure any form of housing discrimination.”
“HUD’s decision last month to upend the longstanding disparate impact rule is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to undermine decades of progress toward making our country more equal,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). “With this lawsuit, LDF seeks to stop the explicit effort by this president to revive and reinforce practices that promote racial segregation and to strip the Fair Housing Act of its power. The conservative movement to weaken the Fair Housing Act was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2015. The Trump administration now cynically seeks to use that decision to justify its effort to do by agency rulemaking what it could not convince a majority of the court to do.”
“Fair housing doesn't happen by itself, which is why we cannot weaken tools to fight racism,” stated Kristina Adamski, Zillow Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. “It's critical that the disparate impact rule provide a clear basis to combat housing discrimination, and avoid unduly burdening victims of housing discrimination. At Zillow, we believe everyone deserves a home they love. This belief drives us every day to provide consumers with information and products to find an affordable, quality home. Weakening the disparate impact rule undercuts that goal. We applaud the National Fair Housing Alliance and its allies for taking action to protect this essential tool in our shared fight against housing discrimination."
“For nearly fifty years, disparate impact law has made the promise of the Fair Housing Act a reality for millions of Americans,” said John Relman, Founder and Managing Partner of Relman Colfax. “It has helped reduce inequalities that unfairly disadvantage people of color by requiring industry and government to search for less discriminatory alternatives to rules, policies and practices that perpetuate our nation’s legacy of structural racism. HUD’s new rule eviscerates disparate impact law as we know it, without justification or purpose. If the rule is permitted to proceed, it will undo decades of civil rights progress in communities across the country. This lawsuit seeks to enjoin HUD from implementing its unlawful new rule. We must protect the hard won gains of the civil rights movement and the rights of our clients and client communities.”
“More than 50 years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, and more than five years after the Supreme Court confirmed the longstanding view that the Act bars both intentional discrimination and policies that have an unnecessarily discriminatory effect, this administration is attempting to use rulemaking to turn back the clock,” stated Allison Zieve director of Public Citizen Litigation Group and co-counsel in the case. “The job of HUD is to enforce the law, not to undermine it. Through this lawsuit, we seek to establish that HUD has exceeded its authority and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”
“We are deeply disappointed in HUD’s final Disparate Impact Rule and its radical revision of the previous 2013 rule,” said Caroline Peattie, Executive Director of Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California. “Our agency will be hobbled in its effort to assist clients who desperately need our help — families with children who are faced with eviction or are barred from accessing housing because of restrictive occupancy or other discriminatory rules, domestic violence survivors facing eviction due to unfair policies that disproportionately affect women, people of color who are negatively impacted by restrictive housing policies barring people with criminal histories, and others. It will have a chilling effect on the willingness of our already vulnerable clients to come forward with a housing discrimination complaint when the burden of proving discrimination exists now appears insurmountable. In short, this is a rule that should not stand.”
The lawsuit filed by NFHA, LDF, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, and BLDS, LLC asserts the Trump administration acted improperly in implementing the final “disparate impact rule.” It alleges that HUD violated the Administrative Procedures Act by taking final agency action that is arbitrary and capricious, is in excess of statutory authority, and is not in accordance with law. Among other allegations, the complaint alleges that the final rule is not a product of reasoned decision-making and will undermine the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. The complaint also alleges that HUD failed to respond adequately to the public comments submitted in response to the proposed rule.
Millions of people will be negatively affected if the disparate impact tool is lost. We will continue our efforts to preserve this vital civil rights tool and use every weapon in our arsenal to defend it. Visit DefendCivilRights.org to learn more and find out how you can speak out against this devastating attack on civil rights.
Previous news items are available here.
Resources and useful links
If you shop at Amazon.com, did you know that by shopping instead at smile.amazon.com you can direct 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice?
MVFHC is an eligible charity, and we’d appreciate your support. Designate MVFHC as your Amazon Smile charity today.
Copies of special reports such as Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice released by local jurisdictions as well as other reports done by MVFHC on zoning and predatory lending are available on the reports
HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton
The Home Ownership Center
is a non-profit organization that empowers local residents to achieve and sustain homeownership and financial success. They’ve helped thousands of individuals and families meet their homeownership goals through a variety of services offered at low or no cost. You can reach the HomeOwnership Center at 937-853-1600
Fair Housing webinars
In conjunction with the Greater Dayton Apartment Association, MVFHC is offering one-hour fair housing webinars on the second Wednesday
of every other month in 2018 (odd months). For more information, visit our GDAA webinar page
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that promotes compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. Visit www.fairhousingfirst.org
for instruction programs and useful online resources.
Additional Landlord/Tenant info
Also, if you are a landlord or a tenant wanting information on your rights and duties under Ohio law, the Dayton-Montgomery County Ombudsman's Office has a page about landlord/tenant issues
Mobile Home Park residents
rights and responsibilities
A booklet outlining your rights and responsibilities when renting mobile homes or lots in mobile home parks is available on the Ohio Legal Services website
Equal Housing Opportunity usage guidelines
on the usage of the "Equal Housing Opportunity" logo and slogan are available online in the Services/Reference section.
Fair Housing Advertising Word and Phrase List
A word and phrase list
intended as a guideline to assist in complying with state and federal fair housing laws is available online in the Services/Reference section.
Reasonable Modifications and Accommodations
Have questions about what your rights or responsibilities are under the federal Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities? Now available online in the Services/Reference section are joint statements from the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that explain reasonable modifications
Service Animal Policy
A Service Animal Policy
is now available available online in the Services/Reference section. The policy explains what service animals are and how they are a reasonable accommodation under the Federal Fair Housing Act and also provides practice guidelines for housing providers
and for tenants
is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. To learn how you can save money in your home, visit www.energystar.gov