Briefs Sought to Have Supreme Court Hear Fair Housing Case
NAHB’s legal department is encouraging multifamily developers to work with their attorneys to submit an amicus brief in support of a petition by the association last month to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear a case on the Fair Housing Accessibility Act.
NAHB would like to see the court resolve questions on the law’s statute of limitations and the legal standing of groups receiving HUD enforcement grants to sue for violations.
The case involves a suit by a local fair housing interest group against NAHB member WKB Associates of Louisville, Ky., alleging that several of the developer’s multifamily projects did not comply with Fair Housing Act requirements for design and construction. The group received enforcement grants from HUD and hired testers to identify potential violations.
Last year, the Sixth Circuit found in favor of the group, ruling that it has standing to sue. The court also was liberal in its interpretation of the statute of limitations, holding that as long as one unit in a development is sold within the appropriate period of time, all the units can be targeted in the lawsuit, no matter when they were sold.
Other circuit courts hearing similar cases have reached different conclusions in their decisions. For example, a case involving the statute of limitations for fair housing violations in multifamily developments in Nevada and Idaho was just decided in the developer’s favor.
According to the legal experts at NAHB, the Supreme Court is more likely to hear a case that is accompanied by a large number of friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the petition.
Builders who want to participate in this effort need to act quickly, before a 30-day window closes.
For more information, e-mail Tom Ward at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8230.