As many of my readers know, among the topics frequently discussed on this blog are the many issues facing resident owned communities when dealing with the Fair Housing Act.
I’ve recently been speaking to community association managers and ROC board members about the importance of properly responding to and evaluating requests made by current or prospective residents for reasonable accommodations such as pets or caregivers.
I always begin my presentation with a brief history of the Fair Housing Act and its roots in the Civil Rights movement and the legislation that movement inspired–legislation enacted with the goal of eliminating unlawful discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as race, religion, or disability,
It appears that there is still much to be done before that goal is met. Last Thursday’s Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that housing discrimination is still occurring in Sarasota County. Investigators found numerous instances of discrimination against minorities and persons with disabilities in Sarasota, Venice, and North Port as well as in the unincorporated areas of Sarasota County.
The article notes that the investigation was conducted, at least in part, by "testers" posing as as persons seeking housing or financing to help purchase homes.
We’ve been cautioning ROCs for some time that these "testers" would eventually turn their attention to other areas of our state after focusing on the larger cities on Florida’s east coast and the Orlando area.
Managers and board members in resident owned communities clearly have yet another reason to comply with the Fair Housing Laws.