Legal Department

The RHJ Legal Department is dedicated to educating and informing property managers, multifamily executives, on-site managers, landlords, real estate investors, apartment maintenance staff and other industry professionals about Fair Housing, Section 8, landlords tenant laws and other real estate laws on a local and national level.

fair housing section 8 landlord tenant law
Wed
04
Apr
The Editors's picture

Apartment Owner Ordered To Pay $1.6 Million In Bed Bug Lawsuit

Apartment Owner Ordered To Pay $1.6 Million In Bedbug Lawsuit

A jury has awarded a California family $1.6 million in one of the largest single bed bug case awards ever reported against an apartment owner, according to a release.

Liliana Martinez told NBC in Los Angles her family suffered for months with bed bugs at the Kahala Islander Apartments in Inglewood, California in 2010. She said her child, a baby at the time, was covered in bites.

"Just seeing how he would scratch all the time and nothing would heal because it would start bleeding again. It was very emotional, very stressful," she told the television station.

Mon
02
Apr
The Editors's picture

Seattle Law Making Landlords Accept First Qualified Tenant Struck Down

Judge Strikes Down Seattle’s Law Requiring Landlords Accept First Qualified Tenant

A Seattle judge has struck down Seattle’s ordinance saying landlords must accept the first qualified tenant who applies, according to reports.

A King County Superior Court Judge, Suzanne Parisien, struck down the ordinance saying “choosing a tenant is a fundamental attribute of property ownership.”

She wrote that the ordinance, called the first-in-time (FIT) law’s “few concessions to landlords do not redeem it. While landlords are permitted to set their own rental criteria …general criteria does not substitute for the discretion to choose a specific tenant.”

“Notably, the ability to negotiate for instance, - a key element of the right to freely dispose of property – is extinguished by the FIT rule. Even if landlords can impose some limits on the pool of qualified applicants, landlords and tenants still cannot bargain for an arrangement that suits their interests.”

Mon
02
Apr
The Editors's picture

Landlord Charged With Reducing Rent, Threatening Eviction For Sex

Landlord Charged With Reducing Rent, Threatening Eviction For Sex

A  lawsuit charging sexual harassment of female tenants, has been filed against two Cincinnati rental property owners who have owned more than 55 multifamily and single-family rentals, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

The Justice Department announced that it has filed a lawsuit against John and Susan Klosterman alleging that female tenants in the Klostermans’ residential rental properties in Cincinnati, Ohio, were subjected to sexual harassment, coercion, intimidation, and threats in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Each of the defendants owns or manages properties where the illegal conduct occurred.

The lawsuit alleges that John Klosterman sexually harassed female residents at the rental properties from at least 2013 through the present.

Tue
13
Mar
The Editors's picture

AG’s Sting Hits Property Management Over Rejecting Veterans Vouchers

AG’s Sting Hits Property Management Over Rejecting Veterans Vouchers

Eight Washington State property management companies have been charged with improperly rejecting disabled veterans vouchers after a sting operation, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a release.

Some landlords and property management companies have pushed back saying they were confused by conflicting information from the state and never intended to discriminate against veterans vouchers or veterans..

Ferguson said completion of a sweep to crack down on illegal housing discrimination against veterans with disabilities, has resulted in enforcement action against eight companies across the state.

As part of the enforcement action, the eight companies will stop discriminating.

“Veterans are protected from discrimination by Washington law,” Ferguson said in the release.

 

Mon
12
Mar
The Editors's picture

Portland Landlords Will Have To Pay Tenant Moving As City Makes Policy Permanent

Portland Landlords Will Have To Pay Tenant Moving As City Makes Policy Permanen

Portland landlords now face a permanent policy that forces them to pay tenant moving costs if they want to increase rent by 10 percent or do no-cause evictions to move tenants out to rehab old apartment buildings to upgrade them, according to reports.

Landlords see the ordinance as disguised rent control.

The permanent renter protection policy requires landlords to pay tenant moving costs ranging from $2,900 to $4,500 to tenants subject to no-cause evictions or who choose to move if their rents are raised more than 10 percent a year.

The council revoked an exemption for landlords who own just one rental unit, except in limited circumstances. The revised policy is effective immediately, according to reports.

Mon
05
Mar
John Triplett's picture

 Can A Landlord Say No Guns In My Apartments?

 Can I Say No Guns In My Apartments?

 Generally a private landlord can make a decision about whether to say "no guns in my apartments," unless a state  forbids landlords from banning guns in apartments or rental property, according to Denny Dobbins, general legal counsel and vice president of RentPerfect.com.

By John Triplett

State laws vary on the issue of what landlords can mandate regarding saying “no guns in my apartments,” and gun possession in general by tenants in privately owned rental properties.

Landlords and property managers need to be aware of whether their state or local government has specific laws, Dobbins said in an interview with Rental Housing Journal.

Only four states have specific statutes laws regarding guns in apartments and rental properties:

Mon
26
Feb
The Editors's picture

Can Enforcing Nuisance Ordinances Lead To Fair Housing Violation?

Can Enforcing Nuisance Ordinances Lead To Fair Housing Violation?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of nuisance ordinances and whether they could lead to Fair Housing Act violations.

By Ellen Clark

Nuisance ordinances aim to keep communities crime free, increase property values, and encourage economic development but many nuisance ordinances include domestic violence incidents in the definition of a “nuisance.”

This can have an adverse impact on victims of domestic violence.

 Assess your nuisance policies and procedures to ensure they do not unfairly discriminate against women, who are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse and are a protected class.

Tue
20
Feb
The Editors's picture

If HUD Calls Do You Have Documentation To Defend Yourself?

If HUD Calls Do You Have Documentation To Defend Yourself?

The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on the issue of documentation to help property management professionals defend themselves in the event of a Fair Housing Act discrimination charge.

 By Ellen Clark

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $37 million to more than 150 national and local organizations working to confront Fair Housing Act violations.

The enforcement will come through testing, filing fair housing complaints, and investigations by these organizations.

 In order to successfully defend your decisions, policies, and practices, as well as demonstrate that all persons were treated the same, your documentation must be complete and contain relevant facts. This seems like a good time to talk about documentation.

Fri
09
Feb
The Editors's picture

Rent Control Does More Harm Than Good New Study Says

Rent Control Does More Harm Than Good New Study Says

A new study by Stanford University professors of rent control in San Francisco concludes that it does more harm than good and can cause housing shortages that reduce the number of low-income people who can live in a city.

Economists Rebecca Diamond, Timothy McQuade and Franklin Qian did the study, “The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco.”

“Steadily rising housing rents in many of the U.S.’s large, productive cities has brought the issue of affordable housing to the forefront of the policy debate and reignited the discussion over expanding or enacting rent control provisions,” the report states.

 

Wed
31
Jan
The Editors's picture

Company Appeals To Stop Short-Term Airbnb Rentals At Apartments

Company appeals to stop short-term rentals at its properties

One of the largest owners and operators of apartments in the U.S. wants to stop short-term rentals that violate its leases, and has filed an appeal in California to stop Airbnb from illegally renting its apartments, according to a release.

"We are standing up for the rights of our company and our residents who want and expect to live in peaceful, quiet residential communities," Aimco Executive Vice President of Operations Keith Kimmel, said in the release. "Our residents do not want to live in a de-facto hotel for spring-break partiers, vacationers and other unvetted strangers who disturb the peace at all hours, who have caused significant property damage, and who pose a safety risk to our residents."

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