Las Vegas, NV

Housing authority hit by several Section 8 lawsuits

October 25, 2015
The troubled Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority was hit with three federal lawsuits in the past three months over the same program — one that helps poor families pay rent.
     All of the lawsuits allege the housing authority's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program violated federal law and individual civil rights by failing to provide notice and fair hearing to people dropped from the program.
     One of the three lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court was settled with the plaintiff's reinstatement to the Section 8 program, and the parties of another are in settlement talks. A fourth federal lawsuit filed in 2014 also was resolved this month with the plaintiff's reinstatement to the program, according to attorneys.
     Executive Director John Hill declined to comment on the spate of lawsuits. Some of the attorneys for the plaintiffs speculated that the program might be understaffed.

Developer's housing discrimination lawsuit settled

October 01, 2009
The National Fair Housing Alliance has reached a settlement in its housing discrimination lawsuit against Ovation Development Corp.
     The alliance had accused the company discriminating against people with disabilities in the greater Las Vegas area.
     Under terms of the agreement announced Thursday, Ovation and the owners and managers of 11 properties in southern Nevada have three years to renovate more than 1,500 apartments that violate accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act.
     Ovation will also pay the housing alliance $750,000 in damages and attorneys fees.

Did family lose house over $39?

May 28, 2009
Thousands of people in southern Nevada are struggling to hang on to their homes. Even those who thought a loan modification program would offer some relief have found it doesn't always help.
     News 3 Investigator Mitch Truswell talked to a local family who lost their home over, believe it or not, about what you'd spend to fill up your tank.
     "Your house has been sold based on the fact you failed to send a $39 contribution. We figured by you not sending that, you didn't want to stay in the house."
     That's what American Servicing Company, a division of Wells Fargo, told David Zepeda earlier this month. That conversation came after a notice of new ownership was taped to his door telling him, his wife, and his two children that their home had been sold May 8.

DOJ strikes at landlord bias against children

November 24, 2008
The federal government recently settled a complaint against the owners of Las Vegas apartments who allegedly discriminated against families, the third such case in the valley in two years.
     The repeated cases involving hundreds of apartments mean “there definitely is discrimination against families with children” in the Las Vegas Valley, said Chuck Hauptman, a representative of the Housing and Urban Development Department’s San Francisco office of fair housing and equal opportunity.
     He said the agency wants valley landlords to be on notice that this is illegal, a message that’s especially crucial when families with children are among the many seeking rental housing in the wake of the valley’s foreclosure crisis.
     In the most recent case, which was settled in October, HUD, rather than the victim, had filed the complaint, indicating the alleged discrimination was flagrant and easy to prove.

Court puts limits on Fair Housing Act litigation

May 17, 2008
In a case closely monitored by multifamily developers and disabled rights advocates across the country, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the right to sue over violations of the Fair Housing Act expires two years after a project's completion.
     The court heard the case of Garcia v. Brockway with all 11 judges on March 25 and issued a 9-2 decision Tuesday, reaffirming a 2-1 decision by a court panel in September.
     "This gives developers certainty and peace," said Josh Reisman, partner in the Las Vegas law office of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. "They can say, 'I was involved in construction of this project and the design and construction were completed on this date and two years have elapsed from this date, and I can no longer be sued.'"
     Reisman argued the case on behalf of Michael Turk, builder of Craig Ranch Villas, formerly Villas at Rancho del Norte, completed in 1997. A disabled citizens' rights organization sued multiple defendants who had any part in designing and building the apartments, alleging inadequate sidewalk wheelchair ramps, lack of accessible building entrances and undersized interior doorways, among other Fair Housing Act violations.

Law against housing discrimination marks 40th year on the books

April 26, 2008
Enacted days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968, the Fair Housing Act turned 40 this month. The law continues to provide protection against racial discrimination, but increasingly in recent years has been used to protect those with disabilities from unfair housing practices, federal officials said.
     Nationally, 43 percent of fair housing complaints lodged with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban in 2006 and 2007 alleged discrimination on the grounds of disability while 37 percent cited racial discrimination, according to Chuck Hauptman, director of HUD's Fair Housing Equal Opportunity Office, Region IX.
     In the Las Vegas area during the last two years, about 50 percent of people making fair housing complaints cited unfair treatment on the basis of disability, Hauptman said from his San Francisco office.
     "Disability discrimination has surged to the forefront as far as the number of cases. People are more aware of their rights," said Hauptman, whose region includes Nevada, California, Arizona, Hawaii and Guam. "I think you'll see this increasing more over time as baby boomers grow older."

Collapsing housing market clouds Nevada caucuses

January 18, 2008
The last time Barbara Wheeler visited her old neighbourhood she counted 11 homes that had been repossessed on the small curving street of Spanish-style villas. Wheeler's was at number 3705. She moved into a rented flat after signing away her home to her mortgage lender, one of thousands in Nevada swept up in the collapse of America's mortgage lending industry.
     The state has the highest per capita rate of home repossessions. More than 5,500 homes were repossessed here last September, the month Wheeler lost her home, deepening an economic crisis in what had once been America's iconic boomtown.
     In neighbourhoods like Wheeler's in northern Las Vegas, the ravages are clearly visible. "Two doors behind us, they moved out overnight and they foreclosed on their house, and then it was house after house after house," she said.
     Homes lie empty or boarded up or have signs out the front offering: "Free move anywhere."
     The collapse of the housing market and higher than average unemployment has put the focus fully on the economy in tomorrow's Democratic caucuses. All three candidates have come up with plans to help people stay in their homes, and re-start the economy.
     

Suit Filed Against Property Management Firm for Housing Discrimination

August 08, 2007
A housing discrimination lawsuit has been filed against a Las Vegas-based multifamily property management company and several of its affiliates. The company allegedly built apartments that are inaccessible to people with disabilities.
     The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) filed the suit against Ovation Development Corp. in the United District Court for the District of Nevada. The lawsuit is based on an investigation of 11 apartment complexes that are located in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev.

Bank of America Commits Nearly a Quarter of a Million Dollars to Affordable Housing in Nevada

June 06, 2007
To help celebrate National Homeownership Month, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation today announced the donation of $240,000 to 12 local housing nonprofit organizations in recognition of their work championing housing and homeownership opportunities in Southern Nevada. The housing counseling agencies, homebuilding developers, and housing assistance and rehabilitation partners will each receive $20,000 in unrestricted grants.

Lawsuit alleges condo complex discriminated

April 14, 2005
The mother of a developmentally disabled woman has filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas condominium complex saying the complex denied them a condo because of the daughter's disability in violation of federal fair housing law.
     The lawsuit was filed Friday against Bella Vita I LLC as well as defendants Ashley Read and Mark Karten.
     Read and Karten work for another defendant, Performance Marketing & Advertising Inc., the company that handles the sale of the condos.

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