Tampa & St. Petersburg Fair Housing Act Attorney
The Fair Housing Act (FHA), prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, sex, pregnancy, or disability. While some landlords continue to make housing-related decisions based on these protected categories, many more operate fairly and lawfully, but are still accused of discrimination by disgruntled tenants. Having legal advice can make all the difference in these types of situations, so if you are a Florida landlord and were recently accused of discrimination, it is important to contact an experienced Tampa FHA attorney who can help defend your interests.
Under the terms of the FHA, landlords are not permitted to take specific actions, including:
- Advertising or making statements indicating a preference based on race, religion, or another protected category;
- Falsely denying that a rental unit is available;
- Setting more restrictive standards for selecting tenants;
- Refusing to rent to members of certain groups;
- Setting different terms, whether before or during the tenancy, for rental of a unit; and
- Terminating a tenancy for a discriminatory reason.
Landlords are also required to accommodate the needs of disabled tenants at their own expense. However, landlords do not need to make changes that will impair their ability to run their business. On the other hand, disabled tenants do have the right to make their own modifications to an apartment or rental unit, although landlords do not have to allow a tenant to make major structural changes. Finally, if modifications make a unit unacceptable to later tenants, the disabled tenant must agree to undo the changes that he or she makes before moving out. To this end, a landlord can require proof that the accommodation is necessary and can ask that the tenant place funds into an escrow account to cover those future costs. It can be difficult to determine what a landlord’s rights are, which makes it especially important for those who have been accused of violating the FHA to contact an experienced Tampa FHA attorney for advice.
There are specific properties that are exempt from FHA anti discrimination laws, such as:
- Owner-occupied buildings that have four or less rental units;
- Single-family housing that is rented without the use of advertising, but only if the landlord does not own more than three of those types residences;
- Certain kinds of housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs if they limit occupancy to their own members; and
- Housing communities where every tenant is over the age of 62 years old or where at least 80 percent of units are occupied by at least one person who is older than 55 years old.
Call us Today to Speak With an Experienced Tampa FHA Attorney Today
Many Florida landlords are careful to abide by all federal and state anti discrimination laws. However, it is not uncommon for a disgruntled tenant to accuse a landlord of making a decision based on bias, which can have devastating consequences for the landlord. If you are a Florida landlord and have been accused of violating the FHA, please call Saady & Saxe, P.A. Attorneys At Law at 813-909-8855 today to speak with an experienced Tampa FHA attorney.