Friday, September 9, 2016

Disability Rights and Fair Housing

Advocate for the access you need

Timothy Redd
By Timothy Redd
There is always something new and exciting happening at MCIL. On Thursday, September 8, 2016. Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) Phillip Oliphant, the Director of Advocacy and Jean Holbert, staff attorney presented at our Housing Workshop. Memphis Area Legal Services has taken action in many fair housing discrimination issues affecting African Americans.   

There has been an increase in housing discrimination practices against people with disabilities, according to Oliphant. Some of the key areas addressed in this workshop were renters’ and landlord rights.  One area that is a major concern for people with disabilities is, how to properly advocate and document your accessibility needs.   Also, people with disabilities are concerned about what to do when a request for reasonable modification is denied.

As an IL Specialist, I encounter issues with housing on a daily bases. This workshop was designed to address the concerns of renters who often contact MCIL with housing and accessibility concerns.  Mr. Oliphant offered several tips that will help renters avoid common mistakes. 

Some mistakes renters run into are a failure to pay rent on time and not getting a receipt of payment, not keeping copies or dating all correspondence with landlord, not notifying landlord in writing when a repair issue arises, moving into an apartment that is not in move in condition, not reading and keeping a copy of the lease, and not seeking legal advice when facing eviction or other legal issues. 

If you, or someone you know has been the victim of housing discrimination or facing illegal eviction please call the Memphis Fair Housing Center.  Located at 22 North Front Street 901-432-4632.