Someone filed a complaint with state housing discrimination unit against one of my rentals. It seems that she emailed me last october (6 month ago) asking one of my listings and informed me she has section 8. Based on the complaint, I replied this rental has not been approved for section 8. It also seemed she did not make another attempt to contact me again, rather, filed a complaint about income discrimination.
I unfortunately can not track that particular communication in my email inbox
Question: Is it a correct understanding that a rental has to be approved by certain authority who manage section 8, and landlord has to pass certain registration process, in order to accept sec 8 payment? If that is true, on what ground complaint can be filed simply because landlord disclosed the status of this rental with sec 8 authority. Or is this simply a mis-communication. But if so, why someone will claim suffering so much emotion stress/other losses, take all the trouble of filing/notarize a complaint, other than just send me another email to clarify?
Can anyone shed light on this? Thank you very much.
Fun! There is nothing more concerning than opening a letter from HUD and reading accusation about how you discriminated. Go ahead and vent, but then when your done you will realize this is not a big deal.
HUD is required to be a non-bias third party and investigate any and all claims. They most rely on a local organization to actual handle (Housing Authority usually) the investigation. The majority of these claims are settled outside of any formal finding. The agent you work with will discuss how to work with the individual making the claim. Many times they can't even find the people who made the claim and they close it.
Read the alleged violation and find the parts that you don't agree on, everything you do agree on isn't worth discussing as you agree (points like you remember her contacting you). If you were unaware of the rules behind section 8 than that is a fair discussion as you weren't discriminating you just weren't aware of the program and how it works. They are not out to get you if you didn't follow every law - only if you discriminated.
In some states (like NJ and I believe MA), section 8 falls under source of income, and those states don't allow discrimination based on section 8 as a source of income.
So if your rental unit in question is in such a state ...
Joe. Thank you. That really helps. I am very puzzled and in disbelief. I got two big packages/ certified mails. What a waste! I was also asked to provide tons of information ranging from all properties addresses to lease of current tenant to copy of all applications. I guess I need to send a box back. Plus, I was asked to send All that to complaint as well(? Did I get it wrong here). On what ground I need to disclose all those info to a person I never even met? And who going to spend time to read all these. Again, such a waste
Steve, this is CT and I guess it does fall into income.
Thank you. I really appreciate
Will need to find an attorney after this holiday weekend.
So after a quick google search, it appears CT is indeed one of those states that "source of income" is protected.
Here is a link to the DOH website where it talks a little about the LL responsibility.
In FL where I rent your answer was an acceptable one. I'm not legally required to accept a Sec 8 tenant, nor do I have to get my rental approved for it. I think you may be ok still (obviously my non local opinion), but it doesn't sound like you denied her the ability to apply just said your unit wasn't approved (yet).
Obviously appropriate legal counsel will tell you what to do, but my initial thought is the better response in the future is "the rental is not approved for Sec 8, but you're welcome to apply and if approved then we can see what would be necessary". Then the tenant's income source has been allowed and you can screen them out based on the remaining application or pick a more qualified tenant assuming you have multiple applicants.
Even if they meet your qualifications, you still have to have the inspection and the tenant still has to come up with the security deposit ect. My guess is somewhere in that process you could deny based upon the housing authorities req's. Sounds like for LL in those areas it becomes a dance you have to do in order to not "discriminate" and allow them to apply, while all the while knowing that there is a bonafide reason you have chosen to not get Sec 8 qualified, and allow the process to be what weeds those tenants out.
Sounds like a professional tenant / whiner. Some people live for this kind of thing, there are groups that will sent out people to apply for places they never intend to rent just to try and catch some poor landlord in an error so they can file a suit.
Some pertinent reading.
State, Local, and Federal Laws Barring Source-of-Income Discrimination:
Settlement that included source of income discrimination:
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