Housing Discrimination Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Housing Discrimination

In 1968 the Federal Government enacted the Fair Housing Act which, among other things, made it illegal to discriminate in regards to the sale or rental of property, against any persons because of race, religion, sex, national origin, or family status. ("Fair Housing Act") In subsequent years this law has been amended to clarify exactly who falls into protected classes when it comes to discrimination. ("Laws Against Housing Discrimination") In a scenario where Sally Gant, an African-American single mother, claimed she was discriminated against by Mark Armstrong, owner of a rental property, because of her race, it seems that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 may have been violated. However, a closer look at the facts reveals that her claim of racial discrimination may be difficult, but not impossible, to prove.

When the Fair Housing Act was enacted many attempted to claim that this law only applied to federally owned buildings while private owners were exempt. However, in the case of Jones v. Mayer, the Supreme Court determined that individual private owners were required to obey the stipulations put forth in the Fair Housing Act. (Jones v Mayer, 1968) In other words, private owners were required to rent or sell to anyone regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, sex, or family status. Therefore, under the terms of the Fair Housing Act, Mark Armstrong was required to disregard the race of a potential renter. Sally Gant's claim that he asked question regarding her race, and the potential witness who could verify that Sally did indeed bring up the subject while on the phone, could be used as evidence in a case against Armstrong. Also, the fact that a secretary originally answered the phone and transferred the call to Mark Armstrong is a fact that could verify Sally's claim that she did indeed speak to Mark Armstrong personally; dismissing his claim that he did not speak to her personally.

While it would seem a straight forward case of discrimination, Sally Gant may have some problems proving it. Sally does have some evidence on her side, however, in order to prove that Armstrong intentionally discriminated against her more evidence would be necessary. For instance, more people who claimed that Armstrong asked them inappropriate question about race, or the records of renters in Armstrong's buildings could prove a pattern of racially "acceptable" renters.…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Arlington heights v MHDC., 429 U.S. 252 (1977). Retrieved from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=U.S.&vol=429&invol=252

Barkley, Daniel. "Affordable Housing and Community Development Law."

American Bar Association. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine

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