Broward Source of Income Lawsuits Update
March 9, 2019
In an effort to keep our SEFAA members apprised of legal issues that may affect the multifamily apartment community industry in South Florida, please be advised that we have become aware that law firms have again recently filed lawsuits against apartment communities in Broward County alleging discrimination of an applicant based upon "Source of Income," with each of the lawsuits claiming that the applicant traveled to or contacted the apartment communities and was wrongfully denied because the applicant had a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
As you may be aware, Source of Income was added as a protected class to the Human Rights Act of the Broward County Code of Ordinances last year and is defined as "the origin or cause of a legal gain or recurrent benefit, often measured in money or currency, including, but not limited to, income derived from social security, supplemental security income, child support, alimony, veteran's benefits, disability benefits, unemployment, pension and retirement benefits, an annuity, a gift, an inheritance, the sale or pledge of or interest in property, or any form of federal, state, or local public or housing assistance or subsidy, including Housing Choice Voucher Program or "Section 8" vouchers, whether such income is received directly or indirectly by the renter or purchaser and even if such income includes additional federal, state, or local requirement."
With the addition of these classes, it is important to understand that a refusal to rent to a prospective tenant on the basis of these classes is unlawful.
We recommend that you confirm your company's standard operating policies and procedures comply with all federal, state and local Fair Housing laws. Because SEFAA cannot offer or provide legal advice, we ask that you please consult your attorney if you have any specific questions or concerns relating to this issue or your company's policies and procedures being in compliance with the Broward County Code of Ordinances, if applicable.
Thank you for your time to review. If you have any questions, please contact us.