Protecting Persons From Unlawful Housing Discrimination

January 22, 2013 at 8:22 PM

New Jersey’s fair housing laws for persons with disabilities are among the strongest in the nation.  The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq., has been recognized as being one of the most powerful anti-discrimination statutes in the country.  Another State act, the Uniform Construction Code Act [UCCA], also provides broad protection for persons with disabilities.  The UCCA requires the NJ Dept. of Community Affairs to establish general construction standards for all types of buildings, including residential units.  Among the most significant protections of this act is the mandate that the Dept. adopt a “barrier free subcode” to make sure that buildings are accessible to persons with physical disabilities.  NJ’s Barrier-free Subcode [“Subcode:”] covers “[m]ulti-family residential buildings with four or more dwelling units in a single structure.”  N.J.S.A. 52:27D-123b(5).

The Subcode requires architects and developers to make sure that all new housing construction includes accessible public spaces and routes of travel into the residential units. New housing construction must also have individual units that have adaptable elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars, that can be readily modified for individual needs. The Subcode also requires that local construction officials enforce it.  The provisions of the LAD establish the right of persons with disabilities to sue when the Subcode is violated.

The Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (“FHAA”), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et. seq., provides protection against discrimination on the basis of disability in housing.  The following discriminatory behaviors are unlawful under the FHAA:

Sign Up for E-News

• discrimination in the sale or rental of dwellings, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling;

• indicating that a dwelling is not available when the dwelling is, in fact, available;

• discrimination in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale or rental of a dwelling;

• discrimination in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the rental or sale of a dwelling;

• prompting a person to sell or rent by indicating that a person with a disability is entering or will enter the neighborhood;

• publishing any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination;

• refusing to permit a person to make reasonable modifications to a dwelling where such modifications are necessary to afford that person full enjoyment of the premises;

• refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services that would be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; and,

• a landlord or seller asking about a tenant’s or applicant’s disability, unless the landlord or seller is providing housing designed for occupancy by persons with disabilities or for persons with a particular type of disability, and the questions relate to that applicant’s eligibility for the housing.

The FHAA applies to all residential units in buildings with five or more units.  The sale or rental of a single-family house is covered by the FHAA unless the owner owns less than four single-family dwellings, and does not advertise or use a broker to sell or rent the house.

NJ State law also prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of disability. The LAD; Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-66.1; Handicapped Access Law, N.J.S.A. 52:32-4, et seq.; and the Subcode, N.J.A.C. 5:23-7.1, et seq., all contain provisions that protect persons with disabilities against housing discrimination. These State laws are similar, but not identical, to the Federal FHAA. In some instances, NJ State law may cover housing units not reached by the FHAA, and/or bestows greater rights against discrimination than Federal law.

You can file a housing discrimination complaint with both Federal (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)) and State (NJ Division on Civil Rights) agencies.  You can also choose to file a State court action, rather than going through government agencies.  To file with HUD, call 1-800-669-9777 or TTY: 1-800-927-9275 or visit the agency’s website for an online complaint form.  You have one (1) year from the date of the act(s) of discrimination in which to file a complaint with HUD.  You can reach the Division on Civil Rights by calling any of the following local offices: Trenton Regional Office, 609-292-4605, TTY: 609-292-1785; Newark Office, 973-648-2700, TTY: 973-648-4678; Camden Office, 856-614-2550, TTY: 609-441-3100; or Atlantic City Office, 609-441-3100, TTY: 609-441-7648.  You only have one hundred and eighty (180) days from the date of the acts of discrimination in which to file a complaint with the NJ Division on Civil Rights. You can also retain an experienced disability discrimination attorney to represent you in Federal or State court.  If you choose to exercise your right to a jury trial, you can file a court action within two (2) years from the date of the act(s) of discrimination in which to file the complaint.

Whether you are an employer looking for assistance with employment law issues, or an employee who feels unfairly treated, Fred Shahrooz Scampato can provide you with the benefit of his over twenty years experience in employment law. His goal is to prevent workplace problems from becoming costly litigation. He can be reached at Scampato@aol.com, Scampato@njlaborlaw.com or 908-301-9095. Visit his website at www.njlaborlaw.com.
 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Condominiums Will Replace Lawnmower Shop in Clark

December 2, 2016

CLARK, NJ – A seven-unit condominium building will soon stand on the site of the Clark Power Equipment property at 1132 Westfield Ave.  The Clark planning board voted unanimously in favor of an application presented by Vincenzo Associates at its meeting Thursday night.

Site engineer Edward Dec said the single seven-unit structure is a better use of the lot’s size and shape ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, December 4, 1:30 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Gingerbread Sunday

Other

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI with Child in Vehicle, Home Burglary Reported

November 30, 2016

November 25, 2016 2:05 p.m.

Officers Domanoski and Penn arrested Kenneth T. Oakes, age 39, of Scotch Plains, NJ, for possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia subsequent to a motor vehicle stop. Mr. Oakes was transported to WPD, processed and released with a summons.

November 26, 2016

Officer Domanoski and Ferry arrested Brenda Titus, age 41, of Newark, ...

Tips for Managing Stress During the Holidays

December 3, 2016

Crisis hotline listeners are available to help with problems big and small this holiday season

Well, you made it through Thanksgiving – and the election. Now it's time to relax and enjoy the holidays – the decorations, the music, the good will. Right? Well, maybe not.

If you are like many people, you already are feeling stressed over the holidays – impending family ...

Female Dog Found in Roselle

This female dog was found at 315 East 1st Ave. in Roselle.  She is currently at the Roselle Police Headquarters. If this is your pet or you know the owner call the Roselle Police at 908-245- 2000. 

Register for Westfield Area YMCA's Programs and Get More Than Exercise This Winter

The Westfield Area YMCA’s Winter program registration begins at 6:00 pm on Thursday, December 8th for Gold and Silver members and at 7:30 am, Monday, December 12th for Program and Non-Members.  The Winter Session runs from January 2nd-February 25th.

New classes for adults this winter include: Cardio Strength Blast, Cardio Strength High Intensity ...

Holy Trinity School Spotlight - Kindergarten

At Holy Trinity School, Kindergarten is cool!  In Kindergarten, students learn the fundamental skills necessary to thrive in a school environment. The Holy Trinity Kindergarten is a full-day, faith-based program focused on reading readiness, language development, math, and science concepts.   Students also take part in several special classes each week that include music, library, ...

GWACC (Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce) Invites the Chamber and Community Members to Enjoy a Trip to Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast

GWACC has announced today that it will be visiting irresistible Southern Italy & Amalfi Coast, departing Oct. 11, 2017 and is inviting chamber members, and family and friends of chamber members to join them on this once in a lifetime experience.

Rich in culture and stunning scenery, irresistible Southern Italy is the setting for this breathtaking journey. Enjoy an eight day ...

My Epic Beauty Fails

One day as I was looking around a high-end cosmetics store for a new lipstick, a “beauty expert” approached me and said that I was so stunning I should forget the lipstick, and get a lip plumper instead. At first I wondered why I needed a lip plumper if I was already so stunning. But then I thought, “Now here is someone wearing a badge that says, ‘beauty expert,’ so ...

Tamaques Elementary Launches New 'Makerspace' Initiative

With the objective of fostering students' critical thinking, imagination and creativity, Westfield Public School librarian Christine Pitarresi has spearheaded a new program at Tamaques Elementary, called "Makerspace." Observing current trends and needs for growing minds, Ms. Pitarresi enthusiastically noted, "We used to be a society of makers, now we are ...

Lindabury Bolsters its Commercial Real Estate and Finance Practices

Lindabury is pleased to announce the addition of attorney Amanda M. Curley to its Business and Commercial Real Estate practices. Amanda will focus her practice on commercial real estate financing and related transactions.  Amanda has experience advising commercial real estate owners and developers on transactions, redevelopment law and land use matters.  She also is well versed in New ...

Five Shot at Bloomfield Sports Bar

December 3, 2016

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Five people were injured during a shooting that occurred approximately 11:30 p.m. Friday at Bloomfield’s Sports in the City Food & Lounge on the corner of First Avenue and 13th Street.

According to Bloomfield Police Director Sam DeMaio, the police department is still in the very early stages of analyzing the crime scene. “Based on ballistic evidence there ...