Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968
April 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Join the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing and other industry stakeholders at events across the state that promote training and education of our housing professionals.
4/24 Oklahoma City: Commercial Real Estate Bus Tour: Commercial Issues of the ADA Register Here!
5/1 Tulsa: Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Policy Training – Register Here!
5/17 Enid: Fair Housing 101 – Register Here!
Reasonable Accommodations Help Ensure Equal Access for Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities may need reasonable accommodation in rules, policies, practices, or services in order to access and enjoy a dwelling. In some cases, treating a person with a disability exactly the same as others may not ensure they have equal access, and treating them “differently” may be the accommodation they need.
As a reminder to the housing community, responses to reasonable accommodation requests must be provided within a reasonable amount of time, generally not to exceed 14 calendar days. The response must either be to grant the request, deny the request, offer alternatives to the request, or request additional information to clarify the Reasonable Accommodation request. Should additional information be required and an interactive process is necessary, this process must also be completed within a reasonable amount of time. An undue delay in responding to a reasonable accommodation request may be a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation.
Example: A resident requests to move their rent due date to coincide with their social security disability check. It would not be considered reasonable to wait 14 calendar days to respond to this request.
Example: A resident requests a designated accessible parking space. An individual’s Disability status and the connection to the Reasonable Accommodation request are not clear. Documentation must be requested within 14 calendar days to clarify the resident’s request, engaging in an interactive process to determine the nature of the request and the needs of the resident.
Example: An applicant with a Disability requires a service animal to alert of impending seizures. The shelter has a no pets policy. It would not be reasonable to wait 14 calendar days to respond to this request.
Requests for reasonable accommodations are addressed in 24 C.F.R. 100.204 – Reasonable accommodations. The Code information provided by the US Government Publishing Office includes examples for parking spaces and service animals as illustrations of applications of the Code. See https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2004-title24-vol1/xml/CFR-2004-title24-vol1-sec100-204.xml
More detailed information on the range of reasonable accommodations covered by the Code is provided in the “Joint Statement of The Department of Housing and Urban Development and The Department of Justice’s Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act,” available at https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_7771.PDF
HUD Study, Discrimination Against Families with Children in Rental Housing Markets
Familial status is protected under the Fair Housing Act. The familial status protection applies to households with children under the age of 18, those in the process of adopting a child, and pregnant women.
HUD conducted a pilot study: comparing the treatment of renters with and without children through over 600 tests conducted in three different cities. The study found no evidence of outright refusal to rent to families with children, and very few differences in treatment overall.
However, the study found evidence of some subtle steering to larger units, an action that may increase costs and limit availability. Occupancy standards that limit occupancy to two persons per bedroom may also affect the opportunities available to families with children if such standards prevent consideration of smaller units that-in light of family composition, room size, or cost-might still be acceptably sized the family’s point of view.
Properties may consider providing increased flexibility regarding unit size and occupancy to further increase the rental housing available to families.