Paper Trails And Careful Calls Weaken Discrimination Attempts
Discrimination continues to be a problem in various forms, and can be hard to prove in times when the general public may not be as receptive to discrimination complaints. In the age of information, gathering evidence and creating a strong claim is more important than ever. If you feel that you've been the victim of housing discrimination or suspect discriminating motives making your house hunting more difficult, here are a few evidence-gathering and general vigilance steps to take.
There's More Than The Big Ticket Discrimination Cases
Misunderstanding happen all of the time, and discrimination cases sometimes hinge on whether the accusations are about truly heinous acts of denying services to a class of people or an unfortunate misunderstanding.
There are many ways that discrimination can happen, and too often the less politically-charged or publicized forms of discrimination can make other forms seem like non-issues. Racial, ethnic and religious discrimination are issues that plague the minds and media reports whenever the subject comes up, but did you know that it's illegal to deny housing to families with minor children?
To a landlord without children or a lack of empathy, the idea may be tempting. Some landlords assume that children in the household can lead to faster wear and tear from damages that hectic, growing children can create.
Regardless of whether specific children can damage property--or even if the parents agree to the stereotype in a joking fashion--housing cannot be withheld for this reason. Such situations may not receive as much public attention because the cause may not have been heard in open discussion, but like many discrimination cases, its about putting together different signals and building a strong case.
Don't Assume When You Can Record And Confirm
Not all discrimination cases come with an overt, blatant statement of discrimination--after all, it's against the law, and knowingly discriminating against someone who knows your motives is basically giving the victim a big payday in court. That said, you need to be ready to record and confirm any situation that affects your rights.
A tape recorder or recording device would be a good start, but be sure to review your local conversation recording laws. Some states allow recording as long as one of the participating parties knows about the recording, while others may require that all parties know about the recording. Announcing that you're recording may signal a discriminating party to be more deceptive about their activities, so don't do more than you're required to by law.
Spoken statements aren't the only indicators of discrimination. Were you denied housing for a specific reason? What was the reason, and can it be proven in court? Your goal is to find out if your denial reason was enforced in the past, and if so, whether there was something in common between you and other denials.
For families with minor children, research the denial reason. If it's for credit, find out about credit denials for other applicants at the property. If others with similar or worse credit are getting into the housing group's properties, or if the information is being withheld from you, get a legal professional to perform some deeper research.
Do you seem to always be on the waiting list? Keep an eye out for new move-ins, and ask to see the waiting list. There should be an unedited, permanent ink list that includes the date you signed up. If names and dates are changing, something is amiss and you'll need a lawyer for research.
Contact a housing discrimination problems and rental misconduct lawyer, like one from The Law Offices of Douglas F. Fagan, to get a better information about your housing options.