It happens all the time. Children living at an apartment complex start playing games, or writing on the sidewalk with (heaven forbid!) sidewalk chalk, and all of a sudden the resident manager is ticked off at all the families with children living in the complex. The manager then starts threatening the parents that if they don’t get their children under control, then they are going to be evicted. And, sure enough, one of the tenants with children comes home one night and finds a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy (commonly known as an eviction notice) on the door. “What’s this?” the tenant asks before figuring out that the manager is evicting them because he or she is tired of the kids. So the tenant heads over to the office and asks the manager why the eviction notice was served on them. “I don’t have to give you a reason!” shouts back the manager. The tenant then accuses the manager: “You’re just giving this notice to me because you don’t like my kids playing outside.” “Legally,” snaps back the manager, “I don’t have to give you a reason, so I’m not going to.” Back and forth it goes until the tenant finally goes home in frustration. But is that true? Can the landlord hide the real reason that they are evicting a tenant, even if it is an illegal one? Yes and no. Yes, a landlord is legally allowed to not put the reason for the eviction on the actual eviction notice. But, no, the landlord cannot evict a tenant for an illegal reason. And if the matter ends up going to court, then the landlord has to tell the real reason for wanting to evict the tenant. So if you feel as though your landlord is trying to cover up the real reason why he or she is attempting to evict you, then give us a call at (858) 220-9601, so that we can help you get to the bottom of it.
Do children have rights? Absolutely. Unfortunately, many landlords think that the old adage is true: children are to be seen and not heard. So the first time a child makes a peep, the landlord starts threatening to evict the family if the children do not quiet down. “There are people who work graveyard shift living here,” landlords frequently complain to families with children. And then there are the landlords who prefer that children neither be seen nor heard. These landlords want your children to stay indoors at all times, even if it is in the middle of summer and your children want to go outside and play. Put simply, when it comes to housing, children are to be treated no differently from adults. So if your landlord has been giving your children a hard time for doing something that is permitted to be done by adults at your apartment complex, then contact us at http://sfaganlaw.com or at (858) 220-9601. Children have rights, and we’re here to make sure that they are able to exercise them.
We have all seen the signs: “55+ communinty.” What does it mean? Better yet, do you really have to be 55 years of age or older to live in those communities? What if a 55 year old man is married to a 54 year old woman; does that mean that they do not qualify?
Well, it depends. By law, certain communities are exempt from certain portions of the Fair Housing Act if they qualify as Housing for Older Persons. If they do qualify, then they may (within limits) discriminate on the basis of age. So what are the requirements? In short, a housing community must be comprised of at least 80% of households that have at least one person who is 55 years or older. So a 55 year old man, with a 54 year old wife, would be allowed to live in such a 55+ community.
The 80 percent rule does not mean, however, that a development may set aside 20 percent of its units for younger persons. For example, a development could not rent out 80 percent of its units to persons 55+, and then offer the rest to anyone (including families with children).
Next, the community must be “intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older.” A community, moreover, must publish policies or procedures that demonstrated its intent to operate for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older.
And, finally, a communtiy must comply with rules issued by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) for verification of occupancy. Put simply, there are a number of hurdles that a community must clear before it may lawfully discriminate on the basis of age.
Even if a housing community qualifies as “Housing for Older Persons,” it does not give the community a license to discriminate on other unlawful categories (e.g., race or religion).
In the final analysis, if you are concerned as to whether your housing community actually qualifies as “Housing for Older Persons,” or is operating lawfully, then check out our website at www.sfaganlaw.com.
Are mobile home parks governed by any housing discrimination laws? Absolutely. The federal Fair Housing Act protects all “dwellings,” which is defined to include mobile home parks that are occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one of more families. So if you live in a mobile home park, and your landlord starts telling you things such as, “Hey, can you stop having your black visitors come over; they’re scaring my tenants,” then get in touch with the Law Offices of Stuart E. Fagan at www.sfaganlaw.com.
All too often it happens. A child is playing in the common areas of an apartment complex and he or she lets out a shout of excitement. The next thing you know, out comes the apartment manager and he or she tells the child to “Get inside, now! There is no screaming out here!” Is this wrong? In most cases, yes, it is wrong. But what can be done about it? Recently I heard from a tenant in Los Angeles whose children were forbidden from riding their bikes in the complex’s driveway, for they were supposedly disturbing one of the tenants who worked nights. As a result, the manager refused to let the children ride their bikes on the property. To make matters worse, the children were under ten years old and lived on a busy street. As such, the tenants had to choose between forbidding their children from riding their bikes on the premises and letting them ride on the sidewalk next to a busy street. In that case, the landlord was preventing children from enjoying the use of the premises because of the landlord’s desire to let the adult tenant sleep. In other words, the landlord was giving preference to the adult. In law, we call that discrimination.