Feb 07

If you have been a reader for a while you are aware of the St Paul landlords’ case against their city’s code enforcement department.  The case is now at the US Supreme Court.  Here are a few updates and articles:

The following article is from RoofLines

At issue in the case, Magner v. Gallagher, is whether the Fair Housing Act prohibits the full range of discrimination in housing that many Americans still face in the 21st Century.

The case comes out of St. Paul, Minnesota, where a group of landlords who rent affordable homes to racially diverse tenants say the city is driving them and their tenants out of town in favor of less affordable and less diverse owner-occupied housing. The Supreme Court took the case to decide, not whether these facts are true but, rather, assuming they are true, whether the city’s alleged conduct violates the Fair Housing Act absent proof that the city purposefully intended to exclude people of color from its borders.

The Supreme Court Briefs and commentary are posted on Ademocracy

II. Factual Background


This case arises from the City’s adoption of a policy to nonetheless limit its stock of private low-income housing, including by forcing respondents to abandon or sell the housing they provided, in favor of owner-occupied housing. The City pursued that specific policy through the selective and often illegal application of its housing code in a manner designed to produce the closure or abandonment of private low-income rental properties either directly, through condemnation, or indirectly, by rendering the maintenance of the properties uneconomical.

The City’s actions included targeting respondents’ properties for “code to the max” and “forced sale” treatment, falsely labeling those properties as “problem” and “distressed” housing, charging those properties with false code violations, failing to provide respondents with timely notice of claimed code violations, and condemning the properties without a sufficient basis.


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