As the real estate market continues to turn around in Florida we believe it’s important to review fundamental laws that were enacted to defend our civil rights. In 1983 the Florida Fair Housing Act was passed by Florida legislature and amended in 1989. It’s no surprise that this act is still upheld today as it classifies discrimination under any circumstances illegal specifically for the real estate industry.
The Act states, that it is unlawful discriminate the sale or rental of any dwelling to any person because of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status or religion, and outlines other prohibited practices related to housing. This law is extremely important to all Americans because it makes illegal discrimination in housing and ensures a fair process for everyone interested in renting or purchasing a domicile.
Recently the Supreme Court was called in to clear up some confusion in the application of the Fair Housing Act in Texas. Their decision could affect your Florida Community as well. In the case the Inclusive Communities Project claimed that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs was discriminating due to disparate impact by awarding a bulk of their low-income tax credits to predominantly black inner-city areas. The court ruled that even though the practice, procedure, rule or regulation being enforced was neutral on its face, it can still create liability for discrimination. For Florida associations, this may come into play in terms of regulations impacting familial status.
If there are rules in place at your association that prohibit children from using amenities such as pools or clubhouses, requiring adult supervision to access areas, or otherwise directing rules towards children they could be deemed to have a discriminatory impact. You should review those rules with your legal counsel. Even though the intent of the rules was not to discriminate, you may be found liable for doing so.