Landlords Beware!

Looks like we missed this and it is something every buy and hold strategist needs to know:

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a controversial ruling on housing practices shortly before its pivotal decision on King v. Burwell was announced on Thursday morning.

The court ruled that a landlord could be sued for discriminatory practices by a minority applicant, even in the absence of evidence that the property owner had any intention of discrimination.

The ruling was made in citation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and held that “disparate impact” of a housing decision alone is sufficient basis for a plaintiff to bring suit against a landlord.

The Wall Street Journal reported the details of the Supreme Court caseTexas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project:

The Supreme Court Thursday ruled housing-discrimination lawsuits can proceed without proof of intentional bias against minorities, leaving in place a legal tool critics contend makes it too easy to get a claim into court.

The decision, by a 5-4 vote, endorsed a civil-rights litigation approach few had expected to survive the justices’ scrutiny. Texas, whose housing department was fighting a fair-housing claim, maintained that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 required that plaintiffs show intentional discrimination, which demands a higher level of proof.

In essence, the ruling lowers the bar for litigants to bring suit against a housing owner in absence of mens rea evidence that the landlord intended to engage in discriminatory practices.

Statistics that suggest a housing decision caused “disparate impact” against a minority are to be considered sufficient to exact damages for remedy.

The rest of the story is available here.

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