Criminal Background and Housing Info

“We have a ‘no felony’ policy.”
“If you served time in the last 20 years, we won’t take you.”
“We don’t even look at an application if you have a criminal record.”
“Arrested? You can’t live here.”

If you’ve heard any of those statements (or others), call the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan at 877-979-FAIR (3247) or email complaints@fhcmichigan.org. We are ready to help and all of our services are free. www.fhcmichigan.org/background

Federal laws do not currently prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of criminal background or arrest record. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acknowledges the widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system and therefore criminal history-based restrictions pertaining to housing are likely to disproportionately burden African Americans, Latinos, and other people of color.

While the Act does not prohibit housing providers from appropriately considering criminal history information when making housing decisions, the use of arbitrary and overbroad criminal history-related restrictions or bans are likely to lack a legally sufficient justification and can be as discriminatory. If you think you have experienced housing discrimination or have a question about fair housing, call us at 877-979-3247.

picture of "for rent" sign
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2020 FHC Newsletter Available Now

12/16/2020

By now you should have received our latest newsletter at your home or business. If you haven’t*, or you’d like to see the digital color version, you can view it online right now. Highlights include information on recently filed cases, disability rights success stories, and general updates. If you find the Fair Housing Center’s work compelling, please share our newsletter or social media and help spread the word. Thank you!

*Didn’t get a printed copy and want one? Have questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you at info@fhcmichigan.org

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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.


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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