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Shocking fair housing violation charges filed today

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Famous Miami housing institute charged

wheelchair rampToday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Development filed charges against the Urban League of Greater Miami for allegedly “refusing to make one of its units accessible for a disabled veteran. HUD brings the charge on behalf of a 71 year-old double amputee veteran, who uses a wheelchair for mobility. In addition, [they] allegedly refused to transfer the veteran to an accessible unit and threatened to evict him after he sought assistance from the Miami-Dade County Commissioner’s office.”

This case comes on the heels of HUD filing charges against a Philadelphia homeowner for discriminating against a single mother earlier this week.

Why these charges are shocking

These charges are shocking because according to the Miami NewTimes, the Urban League played a key role in desegregating public housing Dade County, has advocated for fair housing and has been behind housing projects in Dade County for over 70 years.

As readers of this site know, Fair Housing protects those with disabilities from being discriminated against be it in the form of rule changes, policies or practices that allow the disabled to fully enjoy their home. The Fair Housing Act also prohibits coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with a person for having exercised their fair housing rights.

“Veterans deserve our thanks and respect whether their service to the nation was this year or fifty years ago,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Moreover, landlords have a legal obligation to grant people with disabilities reasonable accommodations. HUD is committed to ensuring that they meet these fair housing responsibilities.”

According to HUD’s charge, the veteran’s social worker made several requests to the Urban League Housing Corp. to install accessible features, including wider doorways, or to transfer him to an accessible unit, but was refused. Shortly thereafter, the tenant contacted the Miami-Dade County Commissioner’s Office for assistance. After a staff person from the Commissioner’s office visited the property, the veteran was transferred to another unit, that was not accessible. When the veteran moved back into his original unit six months later, the unit had still not been made accessible and its stove had been removed.

The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If found guilty, the Urban League will have to pay attorney fees, damages and possible fines.

“[The charges are] not true,” Urban League President T. Willard Fair, who has served in that post since 1963, told Miami NewTimes. “I’ve spent all my life fighting against discrimination, so I’m shocked that anyone would bring these charges against me.”

CC Licensed image courtesy of lwr via Flickr.com.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. BawldGuy

    April 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I’ve learned never to be shocked by the Urban League’s hypocrisy.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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