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Abstract

The 1988 Fair Housing Act Amendments (FHAA) for “reasonable” governmental occupancy standards contains a deceptively simple “exemption” that has been the subject of interpretation by numerous courts. This article argues that this “exemption” has been misinterpreted by these courts, particularly by the Sixth Circuit in Affordable Housing Advocates v. City of Richmond Heights. The article describes how this misinterpretation undercuts the protection from housing discrimination that the FHAA provides for families, especially families of color. The article details the FHAA’s familial status provision and “reasonable” standard exemption, and goes on to “analyze relevant case law and the legislative history to demonstrate that “reasonable” must mean “non-discriminatory.”” The article then offers two plausible versions of a “reasonable” standard and concludes that the City of Richmond Heights “reasonable” standard should be rejected.

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