St. Petersburg Fair Housing Act Attorney
Florida Fair Housing Act Lawyers Representing Businesses and Landlords in St. Petersburg
Any business in the St. Petersburg area that is involved in selling or renting residential real estate should know how the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) applies to their actions. In Florida, business owners and landlords may need to comply with the FHA, as well as the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), when it comes to renting or selling residential property in the state. If you have questions, a St. Petersburg Fair Housing Act attorney at Saady & Saxe, P.A. can speak with you today.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that is designed to protect potential home renters or buyers from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. In some cases, tenants or home buyers also may be able to bring a claim under the FHA when there is no direct evidence of discrimination in a particular instance, but rather when a business owner’s or landlord’s actions have a disparate impact upon one of the classes listed above.
To be clear, the FHA only applies to housing. Accordingly, if you rent or sell commercial property, a potential tenant or buyer cannot bring a discrimination claim under the FHA. In addition, the FHA exempts certain types of housing, including some small owner-occupied buildings, single-family homes sold or rented by the owner, and housing that is operated by a private club or religious organization.
Prohibitions in St. Petersburg Under the Fair Housing Act
Business owners who are in the business of renting or selling properties should understand clearly what their obligations are under the Fair Housing Act. Under the FHA, property owners and landlords are prohibited from engaging in any of the following behaviors on the basis of a potential tenant’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin:
- Refusing to rent housing;
- Refusing to sell housing;
- Refusing to negotiate for housing;
- Making housing unavailable;
- Setting different terms or conditions for selling or renting housing;
- Offering different housing facilities;
- Offering different housing services;
- Saying housing is unavailable (when it is actually available);
- Making a statement or advertising in any way a preference for a tenant on the basis of the potential tenant’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin
- Charging a different price;
- Using different rental or sales criteria;
- Using different applications;
- Applying application fees (when those fees are not assessed to all potential tenants);
- Evicting a tenant;
- Evicting the guest of a tenant;
- Engaging in harassment of a potential tenant, current tenant, or guest of a tenant;
- Delaying maintenance or repairs;
- Failing to perform maintenance or repairs;
- Discouraging the rental or purchase of housing;
- Assigning a specific unit or building to a tenant; and/or
- Attempting to persuade a current tenant or homeowner to give up a lease or to sell property.
Other types of behaviors also may be unlawful under the Fair Housing Act, including actions taken by banks in mortgage lending, harassment, and retaliation against a person who exercises his or her rights under the FHA.
Contact a Fair Housing Act Attorney in St. Petersburg
If your business has been accused of violating the Fair Housing Act, or if you are facing FHA violation allegations, it is essential to have an aggressive St. Petersburg Fair Housing Act attorney on your side. Contact Saady & Saxe, P.A. for more information.