Back to Back Legal Victories for The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi - Opening the Doors to Equal and Fair Housing and Changing the Landscape of Florida

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Broward County Court upholds law that prevents discrimination against Section 8 rental assistance vouchers

The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi established another important milestone for low- income tenants with a ruling from the Broward County Circuit Court in favor of their client.

The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi established another important milestone for low-income tenants with a ruling from the Broward County Circuit Court in favor of their client, the Florida Fair Housing Alliance. In this case of first impression, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Carlos A. Rodriguez denied defendant’s, Waterview at Coconut Creek Apartments, Motion to Dismiss and found that testing organizations like the Florida Fair Housing Alliance do in fact have standing to sue in state court under the Broward County Ordinance that prohibits landlords from denying people seeking to rent housing based on “source of income” such as Section 8 Housing Vouchers. The ruling was made on November 4, 2021 in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit In and for Broward County, Florida (Case No: CACE21009252-Division 14).

Last month, on October 7, 2021, The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi, representing the Florida Fair Housing Alliance, received a historic ruling from the Miami-Dade County Court in favor of their client. The ruling was made at a hearing on a motion by the defendant, 800 Capri Apartments, to dismiss the Florida Fair Housing Alliance’s discrimination lawsuit that they brought as a testing organization. FFHA’s lawyer, Jibrael Hindi, successfully argued in front of Miami-Dade County Judge Alan Fine, that testing organizations such as the FFHA do indeed have standings to bring claims pursuant to Section 11A-12 of the ordinance. The court ruled that nothing in the ordinance prohibits a testing organization from bringing such claims. This ruling was the first ruling in history recognizing tester organizational standing pursuant to the Miami-Dade Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on source of income (Case No: 2021-001063-CA-01).

Florida Fair Housing Alliance (FFHA) is a non-profit organization with its primary mission of rooting out discriminatory housing practices in Florida. FFHA conducts tests against apartment complexes in Florida to make sure that they are not conducting various types of prevalent discriminatory practices against minorities.

Additional details about the case - Florida Fair Housing Alliance, Inc. vs. Waterview Apartment Holdings, LLC dba Waterview at Coconut Creek Apartments.

Pursuant to its mission of ensuring equal access to housing for all, Florida Fair Housing Alliance began investigating the “Waterview at Coconut Creek” apartment community, located at 3621 West Hillsborough Blvd, Coconut Creek, Florida 33073, for discriminatory housing practices.

On January 14, 2021, at approximately 2:11 p.m., a field tester called the Waterview at Coconut Creek and was connected to an agent of the apartment complex. The field tester first asked if rental property was available. The agent responded that rental property was available, namely, a two-bedroom apartment. The field tester then asked if the complex accepted Section 8 payment vouchers and the defendant responded that it did not. As confirmed by the call, the complex refuses to accept Section 8 payment vouchers, i.e., Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Refusing to accept Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers is unlawful discrimination based on source of income.

FFHA filed a suit on May 7, 2021 claiming that the defendant Waterview at Coconut Creek violated § 16½-35(b), (c) and (d) of the Broward County Code of Ordinances, which prohibits discrimination based on source of income.

“We are very pleased with the order. It serves as another step forward to protect tenants from source of income discrimination, one of the violations that we have been combating over the last couple years. There are county ordinances that prohibit landlords and apartment complexes from denying tenants that want to use Section 8 housing vouchers or governmental rental assistance vouchers,” said Jibrael S. Hindi, who brought both recent cases on behalf of the Florida Fair Housing Alliance.

For more information on the Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi, please visit https://jibraellaw.com/.

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Ilona Wolpin
Anoli Management
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