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Tristan’s Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

Archive of: Fair Housing / Discrimination

What Is The Difference Between A Service Animal, An Emotional Support Animal, A Comfort Animal, A Companion Animal, and a Therapy Animal?

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, Assistance Animals, Companion/Comfort Animals / Comments

There is much confusion regarding the difference between the various terms used for assistance animals. Landlords, tenants, tenant's health care providers, lawyers and even the courts are often confused when it comes to this issue. Hopefully this blog post will help.I often use the generic term "assistance animal" to refer to any animal that is prescribed for a tenant to assist him or her in some way. ...

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HUD Issues New Guidelines On The Use of Criminal Records In The Rental Screening Process

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, Screening Tenants / Comments

On April 4, 2016 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) dropped a bombshell on owners and managers of residential rental properties in the U.S.HUD's Office of General Counsel published a 10 page guide entitled "Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real-Estate Related Transactions." This guide essentially changes the rules as we ...

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Can A Landlord Deny A Reasonable Accommodation Request For A Pit Bull Companion Animal?

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, Assistance Animals, Companion/Comfort Animals / Comments

As I have mentioned in a prior blog post I have seen a significant increase in tenant requests for a reasonable accommodation to a landlord's "no pet" policy so that the tenant can keep a comfort/companion animal. As a result of this increase, I am also seeing an increase in reasonable accommodation requests to keep what are often referred to as "dangerous breeds" of dogs -- such as Pit ...

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AASEW MEETING: "Companion Animals - When A Landlord Must Accept Them" on August 18, 2014

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in AASEW, Fair Housing / Discrimination, Seminars, Companion/Comfort Animals / Comments

I will be speaking at the AASEW's monthly meeting on the issue of companion/comfort animals and when a landlord must accept them in their rental properties.Disability-related complaints, including those that involve assistance animals, are the most common complaint filed with HUD over the past few years. While the definition of a "service animal" under the ADA is very limited and requires that the animal be specifically trained (and excludes ...

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Occupancy Standards . . . Not As Simple As "2 Persons Per Bedroom"

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, Occupancy Standards / Comments

Simply stated, occupancy standards focus on how many individuals can live in a rental unit. Landlords have the right to set reasonable, non-discriminatory, limits as to how many people can live in a rental unit.Many landlords believe that as long as they follow a policy of "2 person per bedroom" that they will be fine. Unfortunately that is not always the case. There is no clear-cut ...

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So Let's Talk About . . . Companion/Comfort Animals In Rental Properties

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, State of Wisconsin, Reasonable Accommodations, Assistance Animals, Companion/Comfort Animals / Comments

I have been promising that I would blog about this topic for months (could it possibly be over a year even) and the time has finally come. So let's talk about companion/comfort animals in rental properties.Background:I will use the terms comfort animals and companion animals interchangeably throughout this post.So we are all on the “same page" a companion animal is an animal ...

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5 Things This Landlords' Attorney Wants For Christmas

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in AASEW, Fair Housing / Discrimination, Legislation, Milwaukee County, Reasonable Accommodations, Small Claims Court / Comments

With the coming of the holidays, comes list of gifts that people want for Christmas.  So I thought I would put together one of my own.  So here is a list of the top 5 things that this landlords' lawyer would like for Christmas. 5.   That Tenants' Requests For Reasonable Accommodations To Allow for the Keeping of  Companion/Comfort Animals Would Actually Be "Reasonable"The past few years -- and especially this past ...

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HUD Issues New Rule On "Discriminatory Effect" a.k.a Disparate Impact

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in AASEW, Fair Housing / Discrimination, Legislation, Protected Classes, Screening Tenants / Comments

HUD has issued a new Fair Housing “disparate impact” rule that may cause problems for landlords during the screening process.  The new rule creates a new provision entitled “Prohibiting Discriminatory Effects” which defines “discriminatory effect” as situations in which a facially neutral (i.e. not discriminatory) housing practice can become discriminatory if it actually or predictably has an effect on a group of persons that are members of a protected ...

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You Will Not Want To Miss AASEW's Fourth Annual Landlord Boot Camp on Saturday Feb. 25th

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Tenant Damage, Credit Checks, AASEW, Lead-Based Paint, Fair Housing / Discrimination, Protected Classes, Evictions, Late Fees, Notices, Collections, Emergency Assistance, City of Milwaukee, Screening Tenants, Rental Agreements, Rental Documents, Seminars, Pets, Security Deposit, Milwaukee County, Property Management, Mitigation of Damages / Re-Renting, Untenantability, Execution of Writ, State of Wisconsin, Self-Help Evictions, Right of Entry, Reasonable Modifications, Reasonable Accommodations, Rejecting Rental Applicants, Walkthroughs, De Novo Hearings, Earnest Money, Landlord Liability, Small Claims Court, Holdover Damages, Roommates, Smoke Detectors / Comments

Landlording can be pretty complex, with a seemingly never ending myriad of paperwork, rules, landlord-tenant laws and simple mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars.The Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin's Fourth Annual “Landlord Boot Camp” can help you navigate these treacherous waters and teach you how to run your properties with greater profit and less hassles.I have given similar landlord-tenant law seminars to fellow attorneys, landlords, and property manager ...

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New Federal Bill Would Add Two New Protected Classes To Federal Fair Housing Act

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in Fair Housing / Discrimination, Legislation / Comments

On September 26, 2011 both chambers of the U.S. Congress introduced legislation that would extend housing discrimination laws to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equal) Act was introduced by Sen. John Kerry and others.  The bill would amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination and intimidation on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.Wisconsin is one ...

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