Skillful Georgia attorneys counter tenants’ allegations of bias
An apartment resident who feels they have been treated unfairly may choose to file a housing discrimination complaint against their landlord. At Fowler, Hein Cheatwood & Williams, P.A., in Atlanta, our attorneys have a deep understanding of the legal issues surrounding housing discrimination actions and provide effective counsel on how to counter and resolve such claims. We represent landlords in lawsuits, administrative matters and disputes where plaintiffs have not yet taken any concrete legal action. In each situation, our established Georgia firm presses to prevent unwarranted sanctions and to demonstrate that conduct that a tenant considers to be “unfair” does not rise to the level of unlawful discrimination.
Proven firm takes on FHA claims and other housing discrimination complaints
Our clients are obligated to cooperate in the investigation of administrative complaints and discovery procedures of civil lawsuits. To present the strongest possible defense, we review significant amounts of documents, resident files and operational policies to show that no discriminatory intent or effect exists. With a strong track record in many areas of landlord-tenant law, we represent landlords and property owners in actions involving:
- Federal Fair Housing Act — Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is called the Fair Housing Act. This federal law prohibits discrimination by a landlord on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Under the FHA, any employee of the apartment management company or apartment owner may face individual or personal liability separate from that of the management corporation or ownership entity.
- State and local regulations — All states and some local cities and counties have adopted substantially similar state laws or municipal ordinances based on the FHA. Atlanta’s fair housing regulations bar discrimination based on age, sexual orientation, gender identity and parental status. Claims can cover a wide array of potentially unlawful landlord conduct, such as biased advertising, deception regarding apartment availability, altering financial terms for different groups, refusing to make repairs and initiating unwarranted evictions.
- Laws concerning disability accommodations — A significant number of fair housing complaints are filed alleging discrimination because of a disability. Often non-lawyers are more familiar with the federal law known as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits discrimination in public places, such as the apartment management leasing office, which are open to the public. While the ADA has little applicability to most of the apartment community, non-lawyers often confuse the two laws.
Such claims may be filed as an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or with state enforcement agencies such as the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity, Florida Human Rights Commission, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, and North Carolina Human Rights Commission. Other times, the unhappy tenant or rental applicant may retain an attorney to file a civil rights action in a federal or state court. Often, such fair housing complaints are ongoing in conjunction with a separate dispossessory case, resulting in even more complex legal issues and the need to resolve the tenant eviction and the discrimination claim simultaneously. Our firm has both the skill and experience to handle such cases.
Contact an effective Georgia housing discrimination defense lawyer for a free consultation
Fowler, Hein, Cheatwood & Williams, P.A. advocates on behalf of Georgia landlords who have been accused of discrimination in a housing matter. Please call 404-633-5114 or contact us online for a free consultation at our Atlanta office.