Fair Housing is a complicated area of both State and Federal laws that are aimed at offering additional protection to those persons who have a history of being discriminated against in the past.
In order to bring a discrimination action, the person making the complaint must be a member of a protected class. Protected classes are different for different geographic locations, and the location where the apartment is located is the controlling area.
Common protected classes include: race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, parental status (families with children), participation in the Section 8 program, sexual orientation, disability, of the use of a trained dog guide by a person with a disability.
Fair Housing complaints can take several forms:
- Complaints to a governmental agency such as the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Washington State Department of Human Rights, the King County Office of Civil Rights, just ot name a few.These complaints are investigated by employees of those various agencies to determine if any discrimination occurred. During the investigation, they will try and reach a settlement of the claims of the parties. If no settlement is reached, they will make a finding of either ‘No Reasonable Cause’ (meaning that they have determined that there was no discrimination committed), or a finding of ‘Discrimination’, at which point they will again try and settle the matter, or they will refer the matter on to the Attorney General’s office for possible legal prosecution.
- Lawsuits against the individual management employees, the management company, and the owners of the property where the alleged discrimination occurred.
If you recieve notice of a discrimination complaint or of a discrimination lawsuit, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible as there are quite short deadlines for responses to either.
Requests for Reasonable Accommodations and Reasonable Modifications are also a very common basis for a discrimination complaint or lawsuit.
Our office can and does provide representation for fair housing complaints and lawsuits, and can walk you through the process of responding to reasonable accommodation and modification requests. We also offer our clients fair housing trainings.