Housing discrimination lawsuits can arise from virtually any violation of the Fair Housing Act, including non-compliance of occupancy standards, discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, sexual preference, national origin, familial status or disability.
Violation of the Fair Housing Act carries a minimum fine of $11,000 in civil penalties for the first offense and $55,000 for each additional offense.
Actions and suits can be brought by a tenant, former tenant, prospective tenant, guest of a tenant, groups representing tenants or HUD and similar regulatory agencies.
The amount of suits being brought against property owners and managers is on the rise. There are significant costs to defend these allegations even if they are groundless.
The Insurance industry has responded to the need to protect owners and mangers from these accusations in various types of Insurance policies. There are a handful of carriers offering Limits of $ 500,000 – $5,000,000 with various deductibles. A policy which covers legal expenses only is also available.
For property owners participating in public assisted or financed housing, there is now a policy endorsement to address the defense of compliance issues. Owners of property that is publicly financed are subject to extensive compliance requirements that can expose them to enforcement actions, even for innocent acts or omissions. These government actions can result in considerable legal defense costs for the property owner. Furthermore, an owner may be vicariously liable for the actions of an employee or property manager.
You can’t stop someone from bringing a suit against you but you can arm yourself will an Insurance policy that will help you defer the costs involved!