Fair Housing Act and community desires for "diversity"
From: Sue STIGLEMAN (sstiglemanbellsouth.net)
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:34:50 -0700 (PDT)

At Westwood Cohousing in Asheville, the Board is working on guiding our members 
on how to remain within the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act.  Here is what 
we've written up so far.  
   - We want to remind members about the provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 
1968 (as amended).  Here is the synopsis from the Housing and Urban Development 
   - Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, 
prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and 
in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, 
religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living 
with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody 
of children under the age of 18), and disability.
   - Either the Association, or individuals who rent or sell, could face fines 
and be subject to damages for violating this statute.
   - Examples of statements to prospective Owners or Renters which might 
violate the law are:
   - “No Quakers allowed,” or “Quakers welcome.”.
   - “We want to have more African-American (or Caucasian) residents.”
   - “We disapprove of (or encourage) families with children.”
   - “We encourage (or discourage) people with mental illness.”
   - The Board will try to get clearer information about the ways in which we 
can express our preferences without violating the law. The Board asks all 
members to refrain from making statements that might violate the law.     

 Cohousing communities often want to do things like encourage young families 
with children, when the people who are most likely to be able to afford to move 
in are older retired people, or they want to encourage other forms of 

Have any of you come up with good language or good approaches to these issues 
that stay within the bounds of the Fair Housing Act?  

Thank you!  

Sue Stigleman
sstigleman [at] bellsouth.net

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