Monday, April 18, 2016

HUD Seeks to End Discrimination Against Tenants with Criminal Records

by Evan L. Loeffler, Esq.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published guidelines in April 2016 for the proper consideration of applicants' criminal records when considering them for housing. HUD notes that because a disproportionate amount of people with criminal records are minorities, a blanket policy of refusing to rent to anyone with a criminal history may violate the Fair Housing Act.

The memo is not law in itself, but it interprets how the law may apply to certain situations. As with any new guideline, the legal ramifications will develop on a case-by-case basis as matters are heard in court and the guidance is considered.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

More Than a Pet: Emotional Support Animals in Rental Properties

by Steven J. Krueger, Esq.

Most people are familiar with service animals—generally exemplified by a service dog assisting an individual with a disability. Only service dogs, miniature horses, and monkeys are recognized as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Wisconsin law prohibits a public place to deny entrance to a person with a disability accompanied by a service animal. Additionally, under Wisconsin housing law, if an individual's vision, hearing, or mobility is impaired, it is discrimination for a landlord to refuse to rent or sell housing to the individual, evict the individual, require extra compensation as a condition of continued residence, or harass the individual because she keeps a service animal that is specially trained to lead or assist her.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Smart Landlords Use Screening Criteria to Combat Discrimination Lawsuits

by Travis C. Logue, Esq.

In today's online social media era, it is especially easy for professional litigants and scam artists to harvest useful content, masquerade as prospective tenants and victimize the landlord like targeted prey. That is why it is absolutely essential landlords utilize a systemized approach to reduce the likelihood of selecting the scheming tenant who, inevitably, will be armed with powerful knowledge that fair housing laws are slanted heavily against property owners. Such information, when combined with unwitting landlord missteps, may be leveraged into lucrative settlements.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

5 Ways to Decrease Evictions

by John M. Mione, Esq.

Evictions cost everyone: landlords, property managers, even tenants. Legal costs, time spent at court and, of course, lost rent while finding a new tenant all harm a landlord's net operating income (NOI). Landlords need to understand that decreasing evictions, aside from the obvious benefit of strengthening relationships with existing tenants is vital to optimizing NOI.

Here are some helpful tips to get residents to pay more timely and consistently, and thus decrease evictions.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Learned the Hard Way: True Stories of Landlord-Tenant Law

by Robin L. Unander, Esq.

1. Unwelcome Dog

I assisted a tenant last summer who was facing eviction for having asked to have a small dog. The basis of the request was a companion animal for her because she suffered anxiety and depression. She made the request after residing in the unit for less than a month, and was told "no." She brought the dog to management to show them, and forwarded an email from her treatment provider (a licensed, clinical social worker who diagnosed her and was counseling her). Management unequivocally again said "no." No request for further documentation or information from her treating provider was made by management. Tenant had the dog removed from the apartment same day.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

So Let's Talk About . . . Companion/Comfort Animals In Rental Properties

by Tristan Pettit, Esq.

I have been promising that I would blog about this topic for months (could it possibly be over a year even) and the time has finally come. So let's talk about companion/comfort animals in rental properties.

 

Background

I will use the terms comfort animals and companion animals interchangeably throughout this post.

So we are all on the "same page" a companion animal is an animal that is NOT specifically trained or certified but rather provides a tenant with a disability with emotional support. Specifically trained and certified animals that assist people with disabilities is beyond the scope of this post.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Reality of Tenant Harassment and Discrimination

by Lydia Quarles, Esq.

New things occur in landlord-tenant law every day. British Columbia’s (BC) highest court is tackling the question of whether "sexual harassment" is actually a form of "sex discrimination" in housing.

Sex discrimination in housing is illegal in BC as it is in the U.S. (See the Fair Housing Act of 1968.)

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Risks and Realities of Smoking and Real Property Tenants

by Jacque Petterson

It is not only legal, but advisable, to ban smoking in apartment buildings.

Tobacco smoke cannot be contained within the bounds of one apartment. It travels through walls, cracks, around windows, doors, plumbing and electrical fixtures. There are no repairs or air filtration systems that can eliminate the chemicals in the smoke that cause physical harm. The secondhand smoke fills neighboring apartments causing and exacerbating illnesses such as asthma, COPD, emphysema, cancer and heart conditions.

Landlords across the United States are receiving complaints from residents who are going to emergency rooms and taking heavy prescription drugs because their breathing and health has been compromised by a neighbor’s smoke—arguably a breach of the warranty of habitability.

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