Winter 2019 newsletter now available
Download our Winter newsletter!
The latest edition of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s newsletter is now available to download.
The newsletter has information about the Fair Housing Center regarding COVID-19, how landlords can avoid race profiling and how to train staff accorfingly, fair housing tips for service technicians, the passing of former MVFHC board member, Dr. Clark Eugene Beck, Sr.
To receive new editions of the newsletter via e-mail, become a MVFHC member.
We pay homage to Congressman John Lewis
The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center joins the voices of respect, love and honor recognizing the unparalleled life of Congressman John Lewis and his legacy of conviction, perseverance, tenacity, and achievement. The death of Congressman Lewis causes us to pause in sorrow. His work and achievements in the civil rights movement made our work for equal housing opportunity better.
We will never forget his willingness to fight for basic human rights, the empowerment of people of color, and end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. Congressman Lewis led with courage no matter the odds. He was relentless in his support of fair housing and fair lending and championed the National Fair Housing Alliance and its membership efforts.
Even as we grieve the loss of this great American hero, we remember his galvanizing words: “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
MVFHC files lawsuit alleging disability bias at Carillon House condominiums
June 19, 2020 — The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that The Carillon House Association, Inc. — which owns and operates The Carillon House, a high-rise residential community of condominiums located at 2230 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton OH, 45409 — published and distributed notices and statements indicating a limitation and discrimination based on disability. The lawsuit, filed June 19, 2020, alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act.
Built in 1968 as luxury apartments, The Carillon House was converted to a condominium association five years later in 1973, and The Carillon House Association, Inc. was incorporated. The building consists of fifteen stories, serviced by two elevators and two parking garages. The Carillon House is not associated in any way with Carillon Historical Park.
“MVFHC is passionate in pursuit of its mission. Condominium associations are subject to the Fair Housing Act and cannot create rules for their residents that violate the protections of the Act,” said Ronald Jackson, Chair of MVFHC’s Board of Directors.
The complaint alleges that in January, 2020, The Carillon House Association’s Board of Directors printed and published a tri-fold brochure entitled “Carillon House Pet Etiquette” setting limitations, restrictions, and rules prohibiting the presence of “pets” in public and common use areas throughout Carillon House. Specifically, the ingress and egress of pets was restricted to a single door located in the north garage. Pets were also no longer permitted to be present or pass through other common or public avenues of ingress or egress, such as the main entrance to the building.
While such limitations imposed on people with animals who own “pets” are legal, the limitations and restrictions in the brochure were expressly made applicable to residents with disabilities who need and use service animals and emotional support animals, even though such animals are not considered “pets” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Fair Housing Act. In fact, the brochure stated, “Service, therapy and emotional support pets are not exempt from this policy.”
The brochure also allegedly discouraged residents from using the individualized “reasonable accommodation” process available under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(B). To the contrary, the brochure claimed to be making accommodations for all people with disabilities on a universal, undifferentiated basis. The brochure stated “Reasonable accommodations have been made by [such residents] using the elevators, N. Garage ramp and N. Garage exits.” The brochure did not advise residents with disabilities of their rights to individualized determinations of their need for accommodation to the ingress/egress restrictions contained in the Pet Etiquette brochure.
MVFHC’s President/CEO, Jim McCarthy, said “It is very disappointing when, despite our 27 years of extensive fair housing education and outreach throughout the Miami Valley, we discover such a basic lack of understanding and appreciation for the rights embedded in the Fair Housing Act.”
MVFHC’s complaint alleges that The Carillon House Association was well aware of the rights provided under the Fair Housing Act to people with disabilities who use service animals or assistance animals. According to the complaint, prior to its adoption of the Pet Etiquette Brochure, a committee of residents had recommended that the brochure exempt service and assistance animals from the ingress and egress rules, and that the brochure include a statement that such animals be allowed to enter and exit through any door of Carillon House. Nevertheless, the Board of Directors rejected this suggestion and instead published its requirement that the restrictive ingress/egress rule applied even to service and assistance animals. The brochure was published, posted, and widely disseminated throughout Carillon House and its residents in March, 2020.
“Just as the Carillon House cannot require someone who uses a cane or wheelchair to use only a certain door, it may not restrict disabled individuals who use a service or emotional support animal to use only a certain door. Service and support animals are not pets. They are necessary accessories that assist an individual with their disability,” McCarthy continued.
The complaint alleges Miami Valley Fair Housing Center became aware of the publication and distribution of the brochure to Carillon residents. On March 7, 2020, MVFHC wrote to The Carillon House Association, advising it that the brochure and its statements improperly suggested to an ordinary reader that the ingress and egress of a particular group of people (specifically, people with disabilities) was being limited and restricted in violation of the Fair Housing Act. MVFHC also advised The Carillon House Association that a number of statements contained in the brochure were incorrect and that enforcement of the new rules would result in illegal housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities, in violation of state and federal fair housing laws. MVFHC’s letter requested that the Board rescind the brochure immediately. Instead of doing so, the Board had its attorney initiate a series of letter communications with MVFHC throughout the remainder of March, 2020. MVFHC engaged its own counsel to continue negotiations.
Eventually, because of MVFHC’s advocacy, The Carillon House Association modified its Rules and Regulations concerning animal ingress and egress to include acceptable language about the rights of people with disabilities.
The suit alleges that the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center was forced to divert scarce resources to identify, investigate, and eventually successfully eliminate The Carillon House Association’s discriminatory brochure, and in doing so, MVFHC suffered damages and incurred costs that are compensable under the Fair Housing Act.
The suit also asserts that The Carillon House Association’s conduct also frustrated MVFHC’s mission to eradicate discrimination in housing and undermined the effectiveness of MVFHC’s programs and services — including encouraging integrated living patterns, providing assistance to individuals affected by discriminatory housing practices, and eliminating discriminatory housing practices. Finally, the suit alleges that The Carillon House Association acted intentionally and willfully, thus warranting punitive damages.
The suit asks the Court to grant judgment in the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s favor, and against The Carillon House, and to award compensatory and punitive damages, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Stephen M. Dane, a nationally recognized fair housing attorney, represents the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center.
Miami Valley Fair Housing Center supports BLACK LIVES MATTER
June 8, 2020 — Two weeks ago today, George Floyd, a 46 year old Black man was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Derek Chauvin, a white now former police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was lying face down handcuffed on the street. Mr. Floyd’s murder is just the latest in a long list of Black people killed at the hands of police. In the past few weeks alone, others killed include Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and Tony McDade. Theirs are unacceptable and senseless deaths.
“No White person should feign surprise at the justified unrest that continues across the country. Instead, White people must acknowledge the culture of white supremacy that built this country, and the White privilege perpetuated by our collective willingness to deny the inhumanity of the violence that is and has been occurring against people of color for centuries,” said Jim McCarthy, President/CEO.
It is past time to take a stand, speak out, and demand change. The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center abhors racism in any form, as well as the violent response from police against protesters who have taken to the streets to proclaim righteously that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
“The events surrounding the horrific death of George Floyd and the countless other Black men and women deaths at the hands of law enforcement have shaken America and communities around the world. These killings are an inflection point where we must be intentional about change. Change means with one another and calling out racism in our everyday lives, businesses and in our politics,” said Ronald Jackson, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center.
“However, if we are to achieve real, sustained change, White America must have meaningful conversations with their families, children, colleagues, and friends and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Contributions by Blacks in America must be treated with dignity, respect and given the recognition those contributions deserves. Then and only then can true healing take place,” Mr. Jackson continued.
The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center proudly stands with the peaceful protesters who are marching to demand the dismantling of the systemic inequality plaguing our country and replace it with structures that ensure fairness and equity for every person. Residential segregation is the bedrock of the inequalities we see. Only seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, Congress passed The Fair Housing Act. Congress intended to ban housing discrimination and dismantle segregation. However, the promises of the Fair Housing Act have not yet been realized because our governments from federal to local have been eager to do only the bare minimum to enforce the law over the past 52 years, which has enabled residential segregation to worsen.
In 2020, Black Americans are more likely to live in neighborhoods in which they lack access to good schools, clean environments, living wage jobs, quality credit, transit, healthy food options, healthcare, and opportunities to build wealth. Black people disproportionately live in spaces that are under-resourced and toxic. These challenges manifest in real harm and pain for people — higher rates of infection and mortality from COVID-19, lower net worth, lower life expectancy, and an inability to give children the best education possible, feed families, and be stably housed. With all of it compounded by bias—overt and implicit—that Black Americans often experience at the hands of real estate agents, lenders, law enforcement, health professionals, and some co-workers and friends.
There is hard work ahead of us all. It will be complicated, frustrating, and demoralizing. However, the Fair Housing Center will be there for the work. We stand in solidarity with every individual and group working toward a nation in which everyone has both the opportunity and ability to live in a safe, healthy, well-resourced, resilient neighborhood free from discrimination where BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Are you being threatened with an eviction during the current COVID-19 crisis?
If you are facing eviction or housing discrimination during the COVID-19 crisis, you can find information and resources by visiting mvcovid19eviction.com.
Important news from the Fair Housing Center
The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center is committed to the health and safety of our clients, our staff, and our community.
Given the evolving situation with COVID-19, we have decided to take appropriate measures to reduce risks associated with the transmission by making changes to how we deliver services to our community.
The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center’s office will be CLOSED to walk-ins and classes will be postponed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice.
Instead, the Fair Housing Center staff will be operating via phone, email, and video conference during our usual hours, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EDT.
We apologize for this inconvenience, but we must do our part to prevent the spread of the virus in our community, while at the same time doing everything we can to keep our services available and operational remotely.
If you have any questions, please call us at 937-223-6035 OR by emailing email@example.com.
We will share further updates as they become available. Thank you and be well.
Previous news items are available here.
Resources and useful links
If you shop at Amazon.com, did you know that by shopping instead at smile.amazon.com you can direct 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice?
MVFHC is an eligible charity, and we’d appreciate your support. Designate MVFHC as your Amazon Smile charity today.
Copies of special reports such as Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice released by local jurisdictions as well as other reports done by MVFHC on zoning and predatory lending are available on the reports
HomeOwnership Center of Greater Dayton
The Home Ownership Center
is a non-profit organization that empowers local residents to achieve and sustain homeownership and financial success. They’ve helped thousands of individuals and families meet their homeownership goals through a variety of services offered at low or no cost. You can reach the HomeOwnership Center at 937-853-1600
Fair Housing webinars
In conjunction with the Greater Dayton Apartment Association, MVFHC is offering one-hour fair housing webinars on the second Wednesday
of every other month in 2018 (odd months). For more information, visit our GDAA webinar page
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that promotes compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. Visit www.fairhousingfirst.org
for instruction programs and useful online resources.
Additional Landlord/Tenant info
Also, if you are a landlord or a tenant wanting information on your rights and duties under Ohio law, the Dayton-Montgomery County Ombudsman's Office has a page about landlord/tenant issues
Mobile Home Park residents
rights and responsibilities
A booklet outlining your rights and responsibilities when renting mobile homes or lots in mobile home parks is available on the Ohio Legal Services website
Equal Housing Opportunity usage guidelines
on the usage of the "Equal Housing Opportunity" logo and slogan are available online in the Services/Reference section.
Fair Housing Advertising Word and Phrase List
A word and phrase list
intended as a guideline to assist in complying with state and federal fair housing laws is available online in the Services/Reference section.
Reasonable Modifications and Accommodations
Have questions about what your rights or responsibilities are under the federal Fair Housing Act for persons with disabilities? Now available online in the Services/Reference section are joint statements from the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that explain reasonable modifications
Service Animal Policy
A Service Animal Policy
is now available available online in the Services/Reference section. The policy explains what service animals are and how they are a reasonable accommodation under the Federal Fair Housing Act and also provides practice guidelines for housing providers
and for tenants
is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. To learn how you can save money in your home, visit www.energystar.gov