10 SPRING 2020 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE
What is fair housing?
“Fair housing relates to civil rights in housing,” says Gold-Scott. “It means that your
choice in housing should not be restricted based on your membership in a protected
The federal Fair Housing Act has seven protected classes: race, color, religion,
national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. The State of Ohio includes ancestry
and military status, and Shaker’s ordinances additionally protect sexual orientation and
gender identity and expression.
How can I know if my rights
While outright discrimination does still occur,
discriminatory housing practices are not always
so obvious. “For example, a family might be told
a building doesn’t allow anyone under age 25,”
explains Gold-Scott. “But with a few exceptions,
multi-family buildings must consider applications
from all qualified applicants, regardless of whether
there are children. Property owners may not
discriminate based on family status.”
Landlords must also provide reasonable
accommodations for tenants with disabilities,
whether physical or mental, explains Gold-Scott,
“unless the owner can show that the accommodation
would be an undue burden or fundamentally alter
the nature of their housing provisions.”
How can the City’s Fair
Housing Office help?
The City’s Fair Housing Office receives funds directly
from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development to “investigate potential violations and
to conduct education and outreach activities,” says Gold-Scott.
Testing is frequently used to analyze whether the landlord’s actions were motivated
at least in part by someone’s protected class. The investigation will continue to see
if discrimination is the culprit. Throughout the investigation, staff will attempt to
conciliate the matter. If conciliation is unsuccessful, and the investigation shows that it is
likely that discrimination occurred, the Fair Housing Review Board will hold a hearing to
determine whether the housing provider engaged in discriminatory housing practices.
“People are encouraged to call 216-491-1440 with questions if they are unsure as
to their rights – and that includes housing providers and rental property managers
as well,” adds Gold-Scott. “Our office is here as a resource for Shaker residents and
Learn more at shakeronline.com/fair-housing SL
Do you know the City of Shaker Heights runs one
of the oldest Fair Housing Assistance Programs (FHAPs)
in the United States? It’s true and that’s good news
for Shaker residents.
“This sends a clear message that discrimination in housing will not be tolerated in Shaker Heights,” says Assistant Law
Director Lisa Gold-Scott, who oversees the City’s Fair Housing Office under the direction of Law Director and Fair Housing
Administrator William Gruber.
We asked Gold-Scott to help us
understand more about fair housing
and the City’s Fair Housing Office.