Housing Lawyers

 

“Just like any other real estate category, residential real estate developments also face challenging complex and technical situations. Issues like landlord-tenant conflicts, legal violations, contractual breaches, right infringements, and property disputes, etc. are just a few examples. It is for this reason that seeking legal counseling from housing lawyers becomes extremely important.”

 

 

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Understanding and navigating through real estate matters related to housing laws requires the assistance of housing lawyers near me.

 

Preface to understanding housing laws, their impact, and the need for housing lawyers

In every city and state, residential housing units form a huge part of the total real estate developments. To govern and regulate these massive residential districts, state and federal legislatures enact certain specific and general nature housing laws.

However, understanding and navigating through these laws can be very difficult for an ordinary person. To understand this, think of the housing laws as any densely populated and complexly built residential block in your neighborhood.

There are numerous sections, underlying clauses, and precedents, etc. each tangled with one another in a complicated manner. Any wrong interpretation, negligence in understanding the gravity, and/or applicability of these housing laws could result in even more complex situations.

This is because housing laws, in one way or the other and directly and/or indirectly, impact the interest of people related to these housing units. Therefore, whether you are an occupant of any residential property as an owner-resident, investor, and/or tenant, understanding these laws is important for you.

However, given the complex nature of these laws, it is not easy for each person to fully comprehend relevant housing laws and their impact on their interest.

Thus, seeking legal advice from housing lawyers can prove to be very valuable and an investment in the right direction.

In this article, we present a comprehensive understanding of how housing lawyers at Attorneys Real Estate Group cannot just help you understand the applicability of various housing laws in your case, but also safeguard your interest in difficult and complex situations.

 

 

What are housing lawyers?

To better understand the term ‘housing lawyers’, it is important to first understand the term ‘housing’.

The term ‘housing’ defines real estate developments designed, built, and assigned primarily for residential use or living purposes only. Developing housing estates and residential blocks is the primary concern of each government. Besides, housing units by necessity cover a large portion of the total real estate developments in any city or state.

Common examples of housing units include houses, apartment complexes, and buildings with penthouses, flats, studio apartments, condos, etc.

Now let’s discuss the term ‘housing lawyers’.

Housing lawyers or housing attorneys are real estate attorneys having specialized in matters related to real estate laws but more specifically housing laws.

These legal experts help persons whether landlords, owner-residents and/or tenants involved in or connected with residential real estate transactions, to smoothly navigate through various procedures and issues without hitting any conflicting circumstances.

Apart from the above directly related parties to residential real estate developments, housing lawyers also serve other important people. Most prominently, these include people and businesses involved in managing residential real estate property.

Since real estate managers act as an agent or caretakers to real estate owners and investors, they also require representation in legal situations related to their client’s real estate assets and properties.

 

 

What do real estate housing lawyers do?

Housing lawyers are expert and experienced attorneys holding competence to advise in various situations of housing laws.

Generally, housing laws administer and regulate the relationship, rights, and duties of different parties involved in a real estate transaction. These include house owners, investors, landlords, tenants, and a few others.

Since these parties stand on opposite sides of a real estate transaction, there are chances that things do not turn out to be as good as expected. This means that there can be conflicts, disputes, differences in opinions, non-performance of duties, infringement of rights, etc.

All of this may result in one party obtaining or trying to obtain an unfair advantage over the other. Thus, consequently and as a way for the affected party to regain its original position, legal help might be the only way out.

Housing lawyers can, therefore, initiate legal proceedings as well as represent their clients to help them settle their disputes and concerns. They can be either hired at the beginning, during, or at any stage of a real estate transaction, whenever the need arises.

 

When do you require hiring housing lawyers near me?

There are several valid reasons in residential real estate due to which hiring housing lawyers become advisable. Examples of instances that require seeking legal help from housing lawyers include –

  • Disputes between a landlord and tenant. (Such conflicts may arise when one party acts in a manner that the other party suffers damages as a result and therefore needs to claim compensation.)
  • Violation of any kind such as contract breaches and nonfulfillment of duties. This may also include violation of state and/or federal laws and statutory regulations.
  • Failure to disclose material facts and circumstances that may have caused the other party to act in a different manner.

In certain situations, housing lawyers might have to deal with class-action lawsuits. For example,

  • when a single party (landlord) suing several parties (tenants) for eviction from a housing complex, or
  • several parties (home buyers) suing a single person (building contractor) for committing any violation of building codes, etc.

 

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Fair Housing Act regulates equal opportunity housing and prevents any house owner or landlord from denying housing rights solely based on discrimination of any kind.

 

Housing Discrimination – The most common and major example of hiring housing lawyers

Besides the above-mentioned matters which require hiring housing lawyers, the most important of all is housing discrimination. Housing discrimination happens to be one of the most common and majorly occuring issues in residential real estate.

The basis of this issue is simply violating the legal rules and conditions imposed by the Fair Housing Act.

Fair Housing Act regulates equal opportunity housing and prevents any house owner or landlord from denying housing rights solely based on discrimination of any kind. This includes denying housing to a person based on their –

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Any kind of disability (this includes mental and physical disability)
  • Pregnancy
  • Number of family members (usually in the case of tenants)
  • Plans to start a family (usually in the case of tenants)
  • Political opinion
  • Support for any specific group which the landlord finds conflicting

Many state and federal statutes both consider the above-mentioned factors as illegal and thus prohibits their use in denying housing to any person or group of persons.

Moreover, denying housing or any assistance in activities related to housing based on the above list is also illegal. Common examples of such related activities include buying, selling, and renting out of the real estate as well as lending.

If you think that you are unreasonably being denied housing based on any of the above factors, you should immediately seek legal help from housing attorneys. Housing lawyers can help judge whether your case of housing denial is legitimate or not. Hence if it is valid, they can help file complaints with relevant authorities and pursue further legal action if necessary.

 

Situations where denying housing becomes legitimate

In addition to the above-listed factors that constitute unfair objections to denying housing to some person or group of persons, there are a few exceptions as well.

These exceptions can be legally used by landlords as legitimate business reasons to deny housing to any person or group. These conditions are –

  • Income (for example, a prospective tenant’s income or earning potential reflects whether he would be able to pay his rental obligations promptly or not)
    ***
  • Credit history (credit history says a lot about your borrowing and repayment pattern in the past. In any property transaction that involves a mortgage, borrowing loan, or third-party financing, a seller or landlord will necessarily make sure and want to feel confident about your previous loan settlements before accepting your offer.)
    ***
  • References of relationship with past landlords and behavior (if a tenant’s relationship and behavior with any past landlord has been questionable, for example, the tenant caused any kind of damages to the assets and/or property belonging to the landlord, this fact could become a reason for legitimate housing denial in the current transaction.)

 

Examples of scenarios for refusing housing illegally based on factors of housing discrimination

The below-mentioned illustrations present an idea of how landlords, owners, agents, or real estate property managers may deny housing based on illegal reasons and thus construing an act of housing discrimination.

  • A bank, lending organization, or even personnel representing them, either directly refusing to provide information, or giving a vague explanation and response to a prospective applicant’s query regarding details required about loan procedures.
    ***
  • A property owner or landlord treats a certain person or group of persons in a manner that he otherwise does not adopt while dealing with people from other backgrounds. This may include requiring more details on certain issues or creating complications in filling applications and other paperwork.
    ***
  • Any real estate agent or broker, property manager, or an asset managing company dealing on behalf of a landlord, contractor, house owner, making a statement that is solely based on discrimination. For example, an advertisement published that shows for only a certain class or category of persons to apply. Such advertisements constitute discriminatory behavior. In such a case, both the agent, broker, or manager along with the owner, landlord, or contractor will be held liable.
    ***
  • A difference in response when asked about the availability of a housing unit via phone or email and when visited physically. For example, an agent, broker, or property manager confirms the availability of a housing unit on phone to a person. But when that person visits physically, he/she is abruptly refused for discriminatory reasons.
    ***
  • Refusing to accept the availability of a housing unit as published or announced otherwise. For example, by terming such prior communication as an error or mistake.
    ***
  • Suggesting or even forcing a prospective client to opt for housing in another housing block or neighborhood instead of the one that they are currently interested in.

 

 

Fair Housing Act – What it is, its applicability, what it considers illegal, and exceptions available under it

 

What is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act is what defines discriminatory factors and prohibits their use to refuse housing to any person. It is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

The scope of the Fair Housing Act is quite extended and covers a vast number of areas related to housing. For example, buy-sell, rent, and financing transactions and opportunities to promote real estate activities.

While the prime focus of the Fair Housing Act is to prevent refusal of housing based on discriminatory factors, it goes beyond the conventional buying, selling, and renting activities of housing real estate.

For instance, its scope also includes –

  • prohibiting the use of false information, or
  • concealment of information to portray a different picture.

 

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It is better to consult housing lawyers before taking any action based on your assumption of being subjected to a discriminatory behavior.

 

On what matters and situations does the Fair Housing Act apply?

The Fair Housing Act exercises its control over the following circumstances –

  • Real estate advertisement displays
  • Real estate brokers and/or appraisers
  • Buying, selling, or renting of real estate by way of financing or through financial assistance
  • Any acts that involve coercion, intimidation, or any kind of threat on a person regarding their choice of real estate purchase or rental agreement signing
  • Real estate transactions of buy, sell or rent
  • Participating in activities conducted by real estate organizations
  • Causing interference to how a person adapts to enjoy and use their housing rights

 

What activities does the Fair Housing Act consider as illegal?

The following activities are expressly considered illegal by the Fair Housing Act –

  • Doing such acts and taking measures that may presume as an interference to a person’s choice to exercise their rights under the Fair Housing Act.
  • Use harassment techniques to harass a person or group of persons solely based on the ethnicity or class they belong to.
  • Involving in activities that are likely to reflect discriminatory behavior for refusing or creating hurdles in obtaining a mortgage by any person.
  • Showing hostile nature or retaliation against a person who has filed a complaint under the Fair Housing Act. This also includes a person who provides any kind of assistance to complainants of the Fair Housing Act.

 

Important exceptions to the Fair Housing Act

There are four important exceptions to the Fair Housing Act. These are –

  1. Single-family homes that comply with the following criteria.
    (a) The owner conducts renting or selling transactions with regard to the property in question.
    (b) The owner currently does not own more than three homes.
    (c) Any advertisement for sale or renting out of the home or homes did not reflect any discriminatory remarks.
    (d) The owner of the said property does not involve any real estate agent or broker.
    ***
  2. Any residential building consisting of not more than four units where the owner himself resides in one of the units.
    ***
  3. Any rooms or units in a building owned by a religious organization. However, the religious organization doesn’t need to be a direct owner of such property. Indirect ownership is also valid for this purpose. Further, such religious organizations tend to prefer members of their religion only and this is allowed. However, such membership should not be limited to people of any specific color, race, or national origin.
    ***
  4. Any rooms or units owned by a private organization but operating for non-commercial use only. However, such private organizations are allowed to prefer their members only. Again, no trace of discriminatory behavior based on race, color, or national origin should exist.

 

 

Finding the best housing lawyers near me

What should you do if you think that you have been refused housing because of discriminatory reasons?

If you believe that you have been refused a housing opportunity based on discrimination, you should immediately consult a housing lawyer.

Although housing lawyers aren’t a legal requirement, in this case, it is still better to consult one before taking any sort of action based on your assumption of being subjected to discriminatory behavior.

Housing lawyers at Attorneys Real Estate Group can help you understand whether you have valid reasons to believe being discriminated against or not.

Remember that dealing on your own and raising false or misinterpreted charges and claims of discriminatory behavior against any person or organization can put you in a bad situation. Additionally, it could also result in severe consequences for you.

Therefore, consulting housing lawyers near me at Attorneys Real Estate Group should be your first step.

Then based on the validity of your claims and prevailing circumstances, our housing lawyers can help you begin with filing a complaint with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). This complaint could be filed within one year from the last date of alleged discrimination.

FHEO is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which reviews all such complaints. Before the FHEO proceeds with any kind of investigation, the HUD may allow the accused to present and justify his situation.

Based on the developments of the case, the HUD or the Department of Justice might dismiss or take legal actions against the violator.

Simply, give us a call at 916-702-8443 or visit our website at Attorneysre.comYou can also get free legal consultation by filling in the form at this link. One of our housing attorneys will get back to you as quickly as possible and will be glad to assist you. We look forward to welcoming you soon.