The legal ramifications of discrimination within the housing market is a confusing topic. Landlords and property managers should work with third-party tenant screening providers, especially now in this time of confusion.
Waltham, MA (PRWEB) July 30, 2014
Recently the New York Times (June 20, 14) reported on discrimination in the rental market, specifically addressing recent challenges in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.
A real estate broker while working with a large property owner asked for assistance in gaining renters. Unfortunately, in the midst of this conversation the gentlemen allegedly said: "Don’t bring me any gays or blacks.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/realestate/a-broker-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-clients.html?_r=0
Discrimination is a significant concern both for property owners and landlords, as well as potential tenants. Federal and state laws are in place to protect them and the court system has worked diligently to uphold them.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued memoranda regarding discrimination within the LGBT community.
From the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 23, Feb. 03, p. 5662)
Through this final rule, HUD implements policy to ensure that its core programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
From the New York Times (June 20, 14):
The Supreme Court decision last year overturning the Defense of Marriage Act granted lesbian and gay couples a raft of new housing rights, including tax breaks and exemptions that straight spouses receive. But it did not eliminate the unique housing barriers that continue to stymie gay couples. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/realestate/a-broker-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-clients.html?_r=0
Discrimination will remain a sticky issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to work toward eliminating discrimination in hiring practices and has released a variety of Guidance to assist business owners with individual policies and procedures. On the housing side, HUD is working to bring balance to tenant selection and eliminate discrimination.
But the effectiveness of recent actions remains somewhat nebulous.
From the New York Times (June 20, 14):
New York is one of 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have enacted anti-discrimination laws to protect gay and lesbian renters and homeowners. But federal studies have shown that even when the law prohibits it, sexual minorities are routinely shut out of housing opportunities that are made available to straight people. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/realestate/a-broker-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-clients.html?_r=0
In May of 2014 Vermont Legal Aid released a report on rental housing discrimination in the state of Vermont. http://www.vtaffordablehousing.org/news/2014/06/report-released-on-rental-housing-discrimination-in-vermont/
Within the text of this report several discoveries were made. First, and, perhaps, foremost, discrimination exists and a scale higher than some might expect.
From VTAffordableHousing.org (June 25, 14):
The results show an aggregate rate of discrimination of 44 percent, with rates of discrimination of 46 percent on national origin; 36 percent on race/color; 45 percent on minor children; and 22 percent based on disability. http://www.vtaffordablehousing.org/news/2014/06/report-released-on-rental-housing-discrimination-in-vermont/
The Federal Government will continue to pursue the issues of discrimination in the rental housing market. The Supreme Court is considering pursing the matter further with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, case number 13-13731. (http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/13-1371.htm)
Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "The legal ramifications of discrimination within the housing market is a confusing topic. Current rules and regulations at both a state and Federal level have done nothing to resolve the topic. However, subsequent rulings from the Supreme Court may clarify the matter. Landlords and property managers should work with third-party tenant screening providers, especially now in this time of confusion."
TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that offers thorough, affordable, and secure tenant background checks for property managers large and small. TenantScreeningUSA.com is fully compliant with all local, state, and federal regulations that enforce the tenant screening industry. They are also a proud member of NAPBS.