Legal Department

The RHJ Legal Department is dedicated to educating and informing property managers, multifamily executives, on-site managers, landlords, real estate investors, apartment maintenance staff and other industry professionals about Fair Housing, Section 8, landlords tenant laws and other real estate laws on a local and national level.

fair housing section 8 landlord tenant law
Tue
22
May
The Editors's picture

Man Awarded $20 Million After Fall Through Portland Apartment Walkway

Man Awarded $20 Million After Fall Through Portland Apartment Walkway

A jury has found a Portland apartment complex failed to make proper repairs to a walkway and awarded $20 million to a man who fell through the walkway, according to reports.

The man, Robert Trebelhorn, plunged waist-deep into a rotting, second-story walkway in February 2016, according to the lawsuit. He tore the meniscus in his knee, causing ongoing pain and therapy even after he underwent surgery.

Trebelhorn filed suit against Wimbledon Square Apartments and its parent company Prime Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm, after construction crews discovered serious dry rot and cracking concrete in the walkway.

His attorneys Jason and Greg Kafoury said Prime Group refused to make repairs for at least a decade.

Tue
15
May
The Editors's picture

Portland City Commissioner Seeks To Regulate Tenant Screening

Portland City Commissioner Seeks To Regulate Tenant Screening

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly is seeking to regulate tenant screening by following a similar path to Seattle’s first-in-time ordinance and require Portland landlords to take a first-come, first-served approach to tenants, according to reports.

Eudaly’s proposal is similar to one passed by the Seattle City Council, called first-in-time. That ordinance was struck down in April by King County Superior Court Judge, Suzanne Parisien, who said in her ruling that “choosing a tenant is a fundamental attribute of property ownership.”

Willamette Week first reported that  Eudaly is working on a measure to require landlords to rent to tenants on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Mon
14
May
The Editors's picture

California Landlords Settle Over ‘No Criminal Record’ And Discrimination

California landlords settle with HUD

California landlords have reached a settlement and agreed to pay $8,000 after a complaint alleging they used a policy of “no criminal or police record of any kind,” and in addition discriminated on the basis of race and national origin.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged in the conciliation agreement that the landlords discriminated on the basis of race, national origin and prior criminal history, according to a release. The agreement names the Grand Oaks Apartments and Sierra Vista Apartments in Atwood, California, and MacBeth Apartment Systems in Carlsbad, California.

Wed
09
May
John Triplett's picture

Landlords Sue Seattle Over Criminal Background Check Restrictions

Landlords Sue Seattle Over Criminal Background Check Restrictions

Three small landlords have banded together with two organizations to sue the City of Seattle over a criminal background checks ordinance that keeps landlords from considering certain criminal histories of tenants during the tenant screening process.

 

Sean Martin of the RHAWA, left, Ethan Blevins and William Shadbolt

By John Triplett

Rental Housing Journal

The Pacific Legal Foundation and the Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHAWA) have filed suit against the City of Seattle over the ordinance which bans landlords from most criminal background checks when screening an applicant. The suit argues the ordinance violates due process and free speech.

Mon
07
May
The Editors's picture

HUD Settles With Landlords Over Sexual Harassment In Housing

HUD Settles With Landlords Over Sexual Harassment In Housing

Sexual harassment in housing complaints by tenants continue to be a HUD focus as HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice have combined to fight sexual harassment in housing which has led to fines totaling more than $120,000 against landlords in three states recently.

“It’s against the law to harass residents of housing because of sex, disability or any another protected characteristic. The settlements we are announcing today reflect HUD’s commitment to rooting out sexual harassment and all housing discrimination as we know it,” Anna Maria Farias, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a release.

Wed
04
Apr
The Editors's picture

Apartment Owner Ordered To Pay $1.6 Million In Bed Bug Lawsuit

Apartment Owner Ordered To Pay $1.6 Million In Bedbug Lawsuit

A jury has awarded a California family $1.6 million in one of the largest single bed bug case awards ever reported against an apartment owner, according to a release.

Liliana Martinez told NBC in Los Angles her family suffered for months with bed bugs at the Kahala Islander Apartments in Inglewood, California in 2010. She said her child, a baby at the time, was covered in bites.

"Just seeing how he would scratch all the time and nothing would heal because it would start bleeding again. It was very emotional, very stressful," she told the television station.

Mon
02
Apr
The Editors's picture

Seattle Law Making Landlords Accept First Qualified Tenant Struck Down

Judge Strikes Down Seattle’s Law Requiring Landlords Accept First Qualified Tenant

A Seattle judge has struck down Seattle’s ordinance saying landlords must accept the first qualified tenant who applies, according to reports.

A King County Superior Court Judge, Suzanne Parisien, struck down the ordinance saying “choosing a tenant is a fundamental attribute of property ownership.”

She wrote that the ordinance, called the first-in-time (FIT) law’s “few concessions to landlords do not redeem it. While landlords are permitted to set their own rental criteria …general criteria does not substitute for the discretion to choose a specific tenant.”

“Notably, the ability to negotiate for instance, - a key element of the right to freely dispose of property – is extinguished by the FIT rule. Even if landlords can impose some limits on the pool of qualified applicants, landlords and tenants still cannot bargain for an arrangement that suits their interests.”

Mon
02
Apr
The Editors's picture

Landlord Charged With Reducing Rent, Threatening Eviction For Sex

Landlord Charged With Reducing Rent, Threatening Eviction For Sex

A  lawsuit charging sexual harassment of female tenants, has been filed against two Cincinnati rental property owners who have owned more than 55 multifamily and single-family rentals, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

The Justice Department announced that it has filed a lawsuit against John and Susan Klosterman alleging that female tenants in the Klostermans’ residential rental properties in Cincinnati, Ohio, were subjected to sexual harassment, coercion, intimidation, and threats in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Each of the defendants owns or manages properties where the illegal conduct occurred.

The lawsuit alleges that John Klosterman sexually harassed female residents at the rental properties from at least 2013 through the present.

Tue
13
Mar
The Editors's picture

AG’s Sting Hits Property Management Over Rejecting Veterans Vouchers

AG’s Sting Hits Property Management Over Rejecting Veterans Vouchers

Eight Washington State property management companies have been charged with improperly rejecting disabled veterans vouchers after a sting operation, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a release.

Some landlords and property management companies have pushed back saying they were confused by conflicting information from the state and never intended to discriminate against veterans vouchers or veterans..

Ferguson said completion of a sweep to crack down on illegal housing discrimination against veterans with disabilities, has resulted in enforcement action against eight companies across the state.

As part of the enforcement action, the eight companies will stop discriminating.

“Veterans are protected from discrimination by Washington law,” Ferguson said in the release.

 

Mon
12
Mar
The Editors's picture

Portland Landlords Will Have To Pay Tenant Moving As City Makes Policy Permanent

Portland Landlords Will Have To Pay Tenant Moving As City Makes Policy Permanen

Portland landlords now face a permanent policy that forces them to pay tenant moving costs if they want to increase rent by 10 percent or do no-cause evictions to move tenants out to rehab old apartment buildings to upgrade them, according to reports.

Landlords see the ordinance as disguised rent control.

The permanent renter protection policy requires landlords to pay tenant moving costs ranging from $2,900 to $4,500 to tenants subject to no-cause evictions or who choose to move if their rents are raised more than 10 percent a year.

The council revoked an exemption for landlords who own just one rental unit, except in limited circumstances. The revised policy is effective immediately, according to reports.

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