Jane*, a disabled section 8 recipient, was denied approval to move into a condominium association after she negotiated a lease with the condo owner. The association issued a letter in which they stated she was being denied approval because of her section 8 status and her social security income. This denial letter was in direct violation of Broward County Ordinance Section 16 1/2 which prohibits discrimination in housing based upon a lawful source of income. Jane was also verbally asked about her section 8 status, being told that members of the community did not want the children that section 8 recipients bring – a further violation of Fair Housing laws that prohibit discrimination based upon familial status.
In the letter, the association attempted to obscure its intent to discriminate by masking the basis for denial on her credit rating, which they claimed was a neutral basis for evaluation of prospective residents. However, given that she was a tenant of a condo owner, the association had no risk in the rental – the condo owner assumed any risk that she would not pay rent. Her section 8 status actually guaranteed that the rent would be paid.
Legal Aid entered into extensive negotiations with the Association’s counsel, who vigorously defended their client but also understood the concerns raised by Legal Aid on Jane’s behalf. She was delayed in her entry to her new home, during which her in-home medical treatment was also delayed, but ultimately the Association recognized the necessity to concede to the tenancy.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.