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Housing discrimination ‘uniquely damaging’
     (LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 23, 2015) -- This year commemorates the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Fair Housing Act as well as the Kentucky Fair Housing law, both of which were passed in 1968. Because of these laws, housing discrimination is illegal.
     Housing discrimination is uniquely damaging in that it takes away a person’s sense of safety in his or her own home. It is important that all of us as responsible members of society remain vigilant in addressing both the blatant and subtle forms of housing discrimination that tear at the national fabric.
     Because of the Fair Housing Act and Kentucky’s Fair Housing Law, it is unlawful to discriminate against any person who seeks to rent or own housing, based on the person’s color, disability, familial status (whether one lives with children under 18 years of age of whether a woman living in the household is pregnant), national origin, race, religion or sex. Federal and Kentucky fair housing laws provide equal opportunity to all people when buying, selling, renting, financing or insuring housing. People have the right to buy or rent where they choose a home, condominium, apartment, trailer or lot. Everyone must obey the law, including property owners, property managers, real estate brokers, sales agents, operators, builders and developers, advertisers and advertising media, mortgage lenders, insurers, and banks or other financial institutions. FULL STORY at courier-journal.com

Feds accuse Minnesota landlord of housing discrimination
     (MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 22, 2015) -- A federal housing agency alleges a Twin Cities property manager refused to rent to Hmong family members.
     The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the allegations Wednesday.
     The agency alleges Page Edmunds and his business, Renter's Avenue, located in Champlin, made discriminatory statements to the family because of their national origin, and retaliated against them for exercising their fair housing rights. FULL STORY at kttc.com

Despite 'troubling' fair-housing results, Portland to cut back on testing
     (PORTLAND, Ore., April 21, 2015) -- A new report confirms that black and Latino renters continue to face disproportionate barriers in Portland's rental market four years after city officials pledged to eliminate housing discrimination.
     Undercover testing determined that landlords gave preferential treatment to white prospective renters in 12 of 25 cases, or 48 percent of tests, according to results released Tuesday by the Portland Housing Bureau.
     The testing also found that people with disabilities and families with children faced barriers but at levels far below those for people of color. Testing found differential treatment in seven of 26 cases, or 27 percent of tests. (See full results at the end of this story) FULL STORY at oregonlive.com

Bowling Green surveys fair housing in the city
     (BOWLING GREEN, Ky., April 20, 2015) -- The city of Bowling Green is currently conducting a study on the subject of fair housing. Known as the "Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice," the study is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a condition for receiving federal housing and community development funds.
     The goals of the study are to identify whether barriers to fair housing choice exist in the city of Bowling Green in the rental and real estate markets and the mortgage lending, insurance, and appraisal industries. The study also examines private and public policies and practices that may intentionally or inadvertently lead to housing discrimination.
     The process includes soliciting the opinions of people involved in the housing industry, including renters and homeowners. FULL STORY at sent-trib.com

What happens when marijuana is legal and HOA rules are hazy?
     (LOS ANGELES, Calif., April 20, 2015) -- More than 20 U.S. states allow certain people to grow, sell, possess or use marijuana to varying degrees and for various purposes, although federal law still classifies weed as an illegal drug.
     Given that contradiction, what rules apply to people who live in condominiums or communities governed by a homeowners association?
     The answer isn't, shall we say, cut and dried.
     Consider Colorado, which attorney Suzanne Leff says is "kind of at the frontier on these issues." Leff is a partner at Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne, a Littleton, Colorado, law firm that represents homeowners associations.
     Even within this marijuana-friendly state, "each association has to decide on the approach to take based on what the documents allow, what's feasible and what the community's needs are," Leff says. Even then, she adds, "there are a variety of approaches taken.
      FULL STORY at bankrate.com

Housing Discrimination and housing segregation take away sense of safety in one’s own home
     (WASHINGTON, April 20, 2015) -- This year commemorates the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Fair Housing Act as well as the Kentucky Fair Housing law, both of which were passed in 1968. Because of these laws, housing discrimination is illegal.
     Housing discrimination is uniquely damaging in that it takes away a person’s sense of safety in his or her own home. It is important that all of us as responsible members of society remain vigilant in addressing both the blatant and subtle forms of housing discrimination that tear at the national fabric.
     Because of the Fair Housing Act and Kentucky’s Fair Housing Law, it is unlawful to discriminate against any person who seeks to rent or own housing, based on the person’s color, disability, familial status (whether one lives with children under 18 years of age of whether a woman living in the household is pregnant), national origin, race, religion or sex. Federal and Kentucky fair housing laws provide equal opportunity to all people when buying, selling, renting, financing or insuring housing. People have the right to buy or rent where they choose a home, condominium, apartment, trailer or lot. Everyone must obey the law, including property owners, property managers, real estate brokers, sales agents, operators, builders and developers, advertisers and advertising media, mortgage lenders, insurers, and banks or other financial institutions. FULL STORY at kentucky.realestaterama.com

Tucson businessman accused of deceptive practices
     (TUCSON, Ariz., April 18, 2015) -- The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating a Tucson businessman and several of his housing companies that it says are engaged in deceptive rent-to-own practices.
     David Kinas, owner of several rent-to-own operations, has been doing business in Tucson for more than three decades, during which time he was named a finalist for the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics in Business award in 2006.
     In that time, however, Kinas has left a trail of unhappy clients who took their cases to court and two state attorneys general who found his business tactics questionable. FULL STORY at tucson.com

Norwalk fair housing officer proposes testers to root out housing discrimination
     (NORWALK, Conn., April 16, 2015) -- air Housing Officer Margaret K. Suib made her case Thursday evening for launching a "systemic testing" program to root out housing discrimination in Norwalk.
     During an event at City Hall recognizing April as "Fair Housing Month," Suib said she can perform "some testing" on reported cases of discrimination.
     "If you come to me and say, 'I think I've been discriminated against,' then I'm going to investigate what you've just told me happened to you," said Suib, an attorney. But "I can't go out and do systemic testing without testers. … I just don't have the money, the program, the people. I can't be the white woman and the black woman and the Latino woman." FULL STORY at thehour.com

M&T Bank responds to accusations of lending discrimination
     (SYRACUSE, N.Y., April 15, 2015) -- M&T Bank wants a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed earlier this year accusing the bank of discriminatory lending practices.
     The Fair Housing Justice Center filed the suit in federal court in Manhattan in February. It accused the bank of using racial criteria to direct borrowers to particular neighborhoods and to determine their eligibility for mortgages.
     In a new response to the suit, M&T said its lending actions and decisions were based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons and not race, color or national origin, according to the Buffalo News.
     An investigation by the fair housing center found that minority buyers were often steered to minority neighborhoods by M&T, according to the Buffalo News. The center also found differences in loan amounts minority buyers were told they would qualify for. FULL STORY at syracuse.com

Civil rights complaint seeks to stop cities from concentrating low-income housing in high-poverty neighborhoods
     (MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 14, 2015) -- A civil rights attorney based in Washington, D.C., thinks he has the method for forcing changes in how and where St. Paul and Minneapolis locate low-income housing.
     Michael Allen did not file a lawsuit against the cities and their joint Housing Finance Board. Instead, he filed a complaint with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that, if successful, could put tens of millions of dollars in block grant and other federal poverty grants at risk.
     That’s not the result that Allen and the local complainants — the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing and three Minneapolis neighborhood organizations — necessarily want. Rather, the groups bringing the complaint want the two cities to stop over-concentrating low-income housing in already impoverished neighborhoods. Doing so, even while assuring the federal government that they are not, is in violation of both the federal Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, the complaint says. FULL STORY at minnpost.com

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