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New York bans 'poor doors' in win for low income tenants
     (NEW YORK, June 29, 2015) -- New York City is banning “poor doors” in a move one city official on Monday called a “big win for dignity”.
     Thanks to a little talked about provision in New York’s rent-stabilization law, builders who receive a tax break for offering some units to low-income tenants will no longer be allowed to build separate entrances for the rich and the poor.
     The controversial two-door rule came to an end after New York City mayor Bill de Blasio inserted a provision into a tax bill that was approved by the New York state senate late last week.
     “I think that the state legislature and the city are now doing the right thing in terms of treating people in every socioeconomic group with the same level of respect and dignity,” New York City councilwoman Helen Rosenthal told the Guardian. FULL STORY at theguardian.com

Supreme Court upholds housing discrimination law
     (WASHINGTON, June 25, 2015) -- A deeply divided Supreme Court delivered an unexpected reprieve to civil rights groups on Thursday, ruling that housing discrimination need not be intentional in order to be illegal.
     The justices said legal objections to lending, zoning, sales and rental practices only need to show that they had a disparate impact on blacks or other minorities.
     The court's 5-4 decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, was an unlikely conclusion to a years-long effort by opponents of the civil rights-era law to reduce its effectiveness against housing policies and practices used by many builders, lenders and insurers. Twice before, the justices had agreed to hear a challenge to the law, only to see the cases withdrawn or settled before reaching court. FULL STORY at usatoday.com

Applicant appealing denial of Alzheimer's group home in Upper Saddle River
     (SADDLE RIVER, N.J., June 24, 2015) -- The Upper Saddle River Planning Board/Zoning Board at its June 25 meeting is expected to hear an appeal to a letter of denial issued by the zoning officer on the proposed development of a group home for persons with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
     Blake Gardens, LLC submitted a zoning application on March 12 to John Walsh, the Upper Saddle River zoning/property maintenance officer on its intention to build a group home for persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, which would have a maximum occupancy of 15 people, according to documents acquired by Town Journal.
     Walsh, as the zoning officer, determined it was not a permitted use and that the site approval is required and issued a denial letter on April 22. In a May 8 response letter by attorney Steven J. Tripp, of Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer P.A., which is representing Blake Gardens, they reference the Municipal Land Use Law and assert that the denial is "discriminatory" and that it constitutes a violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act, which requires local governments to make "reasonable accommodation" to provide those with handicaps equal opportunity to housing. FULL STORY at northjersey.com

Another landlord accused of discriminating against renters with kids
     (BOSTON, June 24, 2015) -- You may think your kids are awesome. But does your landlord or condo association? Maybe, maybe not.
     A North Attleborough apartment complex owner is on the hook for $135,000 in restitution after a real estate agent leasing units at the Royal Park Apartments allegedly steered families with children into certain buildings and floors.
     A government testing agent, who met with a real estate agent leasing apartments at Royal Park, was given a rather blunt explanation why some buildings had a mix of adult renters and families with children, despite efforts to the contrary.
     “You will see some kids there ’cause if they are born there I can’t throw them away. They have to stay there,” the agent said, according to the court complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. FULL STORY at boston.com

Suit asks insurance for disabled homeowners with pit bulls
     (PORTLAND, Ore., June 22, 2015) -- People with disabilities shouldn't be turned down for homeowners insurance just because they have pit bulls for service dogs, a federal court lawsuit filed in Oregon says.
     Undercover testers who told an insurance company they had disabilities and used pit bulls for "assistance animals" couldn't get a price quote, even for animals a doctor had approved or that had no history of aggression, the lawsuit says.
     The lawsuit knits two strands in the stories of Americans and their animals: the long-running scrap over pit bulls and tensions over the evolving, expanding role of service animals.
     Pit pulls, and some other breeds, have a reputation for aggressive behavior and sometimes are prohibited or restricted - one website lists 700 cities that do. In response, some states have pre-empted local authority to pass "breed-specific legislation." The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists 18 states. FULL STORY at kob.com

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