Home > community development, landlord/tenant, Real Estate > News for Residential Real Estate Investors: Michigan Landlord Settles with DOJ for Allegations of Fair Housing Violations.

News for Residential Real Estate Investors: Michigan Landlord Settles with DOJ for Allegations of Fair Housing Violations.

Here’s a profound truth those in the real estate industry will readily acknowledge:

Owning and Managing Real Estate is challenging.


I hear it from my Property Owner/Manager clients. I experience it when I am involved in negotiating in landlord/tenant disputes.


Some of the pitfalls property owners have to watch out for are illustrated in a recentFederal government press release.

The Department of Justice issued a press release today concerning a lawsuit settlement reached with a Landlord and 7 Michigan apartment complexes over Discrimination Charges brought by the Federal Government. You can review that press release here.


According to the press release, the Federal government alleged in its complaint that the “ the defendants, including the rental manager…as well as the corporate entities that own the complexes…discriminated against families with children by prohibiting them from renting one-bedroom units in the defendants’ apartment complexes.

According to the press release: the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan…had testers posing as prospective residents…ask[ed] to rent one-bedroom apartments. Testers who said that they wanted to rent an apartment with their child were told that children were not allowed in one-bedroom units.” Id.

Not good.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.

As stated by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Families with children deserve access to housing that meets their needs without facing unlawful discrimination. The Justice Department will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that families with children have the same rights to housing within their price range as people without children.

I’m speculating, but maybe the landlord didn’t know the law.

I wonder, did the landlord/property owner ever consult with legal counsel on its practices?

There are some lessons to be learned for landlords, property owners, managers, and real estate investors.


Two takeaways from this news headline:


1. It is worth engaging legal counsel. 

Issues arise. When in doubt, e-mail or call your attorney.


2. Residential Real Estate Investment is highly regulated.

If you are a landlord leasing out “residential” property as opposed to purely commercial property (business tenant), you are under much more stringent regulations. You must comply with Federal laws, like the Fair Housing Act and state laws, like the Michigan Truth in Renting Act. Make sure you are operating lawfully.


Questions? Comments?

email: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


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