by Nadeen Green, JD
The seven federally protected classes (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability) are hugely relevant (and reflective of the issues of discrimination at the time that they were created as well as important today).
But sadly, sometimes manufactured housing providers seem to find reasons to think that certain other people will not be acceptable as renter or someone to lease a home-site to.
Quite frankly, no one should be denied housing if they can:
(1) pay the rent;
(2) follow rules and policies; and
(3) take care of the premises.
But when attitudes about “them” keep folks from renting a home in a community or leasing a home-site, states and local governments add protections that are valid and necessary, as people denied housing will certainly tell you.
So, knowing of and abiding by all the protections in place where your community is located is crucial, be those protections federal, state or local.
But as they say in those sometimes-annoying Ronco style TV commercials…’But wait, there’s more!’
More, you ask?
Yes! Familiarity with landlord tenant laws is crucial as well. Even if it might seem that the topic is not fair housing related, it can be seen that way. As an example, here is an interesting scenario from California…
A family is involved in a fair housing case that is based on their being evicted because of their operating a day care in their rental (contrary to their landlord’s policy).
In their favor is a previous California case recognizing that discrimination based on operating a family day care is source of income discrimination (a protection under State law). Additionally, that same case opined that not allowing such activity could have a disparate impact on women and families with children. And an “unofficial” court decision on the federal level suggests that landlords must allow a child care center as otherwise it is gender discrimination against women.
Will this family prevail in this case? Only the Magic 8 Ball knows for sure… (and it might even just say “maybe”). But the point is that it is not only important to know what your state and local fair housing protections may be, you must be aware of how those laws and regulations impact your policies and procedures.
Being a manufactured home community owner/operator gets tougher every day. ##