Monroe Woman Resolves Fair Housing Claim

Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
PO Box 7825, Ann Arbor, MI 48107 (877) 979-FAIR www.fhcmichigan.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2020

Media Contacts: Pamela A. Kisch, (734) 636-0860; Michael J. Steinberg, (313) 570-8622

Monroe Woman Resolves Fair Housing Claim

The Civil Rights Litigation Initiative, a new legal clinic at the University of Michigan Law
School, has won a victory for Monroe, Michigan resident Sheila Ashley in a disability
discrimination case. Ms. Ashley accepted $5,000 from a Monroe area Real Estate
broker, Edward Pipis, to resolve her fair housing complaint. “I am very, very pleased
with the way this turned out,” said Ms. Ashley.

Ms. Ashley contacted the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan in 2018
after she was denied the right to install a ramp at the entrance of an apartment in
Monroe. Ms. Ashley has a disability and uses a wheelchair.

Testing by the Fair Housing Center supported Ms. Ashley’s claim that Edward Pipis
refused to rent to her because she wished to install a ramp in order to gain access to
the apartment.

The case was resolved by law students Will McCartney, Claire Shimberg and Natalie Treacy, working under the supervision of Professor Michael J. Steinberg, Director of the
Civil Rights Litigation Initiative of the University of Michigan Law School. Ms. Ashley
called Professor Steinberg and the law students, “heaven sent,” and said they “helped
her through so much.”

The Civil Rights Litigation Initiative just filed another Fair Housing Center-referred case
last week. Testing by the Fair Housing Center supported the claim of discrimination
based on familial status and sex.

picture of sheila ashley
Sheila Ashley. Picture taken by Pamela Kisch


The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan, founded in 1992, actively protects the civil rights of those who are discriminated against in the rental, sale, or financing of housing through investigation, education, advocacy, and legal action. The FHC takes an average of 180 complaints each year from its eight-county service area – Ingham, Clinton, Eaton, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties.

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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We’re Hiring!

Intake and Administrative Specialist
Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan

The Fair Housing Center is seeking a qualified individual to provide programmatic and administrative support. This position will be based in Ypsilanti*; occasional travel may be required within our 10-county service area (Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, and Washtenaw Counties). 

* The Fair Housing Center office is currently closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and staff are working full-time from home. Please note that this position will start work remotely, and will be expected to work from the office when we fully reopen. 

For more information, please read the full description.

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Apartment Complex Sued for “No Felony” Policy

Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
PO Box 7825, Ann Arbor, MI 48107 (877) 979-FAIR www.fhcmichigan.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2020

Media Contacts: Attorney William F. Piper 269-321-5008
A copy of the complaint can be found here.

Apartment Complex Sued for “No Felony” Policy


On February 26, 2020, The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan filed a race discrimination lawsuit against Erie Investments owner of Red Lion Apartments, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The site is the former Lakeshore Apartments. The suit alleges that by having a “no felony” policy the owner knew or should have known that it would have a disparate impact on African-American tenants and potential tenants. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges violations of the Fair Housing Act.

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New Fair Housing Disability Lawsuit Settled in Livingston County

Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
PO Box 7825, Ann Arbor, MI 48107 (877) 979-FAIR www.fhcmichigan.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2020

Media Contacts: Pam Kisch, (734) 272-8383; Attorney Francyne Stacey, (734) 545-4883
A copy of the filed complaint is available upon request.


New Fair Housing Lawsuit Settled in Livingston County


Scott Lorms settled his lawsuit based on disability discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. The amount of the settlement is not disclosed. The lawsuit alleged that T & R Properties and Zahler Management denied him the right to rent an apartment with his emotional support animals(ESAs). Mr. Lorms has a disability as defined under the Fair Housing Act.

According to the complaint taken by the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
(FHC), Mr. Lorms called T & R Properties on November 27, 2018, to inquire about a rental unit in Pinckney. Based on the size, location, and price of the duplex, Mr. Lorms thought the property was perfect for him and his family. The home was close enough to Ann Arbor to visit with friends and family and was a short commute to Mr. Lorms’ job in South Lyon.

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COVID-19 Housing Resources

Congress passed a $2 trillion relief bill, but that money won’t be available before many of us have to make rent and utility payments on April 1st. Much of the relief is also one-time payments and we all have recurring expenses. That’s why we are sharing this template for an email or text you can send to your landlord and are including some additional resources on what’s in the relief bill so you can plan for the future. Thank you to our friends at the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center for much of this content.

Sample Email/Text to Your Landlord

Hi ________, I hope you are safe and healthy. I wanted to keep you updated about my situation. I have lost income/work/my job because of the COVID-19 crisis and cannot afford to pay my April rent at this time. Would you be willing to:

1. Waive April late fees?

2. Agree not to evict me for not being able to pay April rent on time, and instead agree that after the Governor lifts the stay at home order, we will work out a repayment agreement that works for both of us?

Most mortgage holders can qualify for a forbearance because of COVID-19. If you receive a forbearance from your lender, would you also be willing to not charge me rent for those months?

Thanks for your flexibility and understanding,
Your Name

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