Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Mentally handicapped persons, Landlord's duty to warn and protect, Landlord's criminal liability, Reasonable accommodations for handicapped persons, Handicapped tenant's right to privacy, Landlord's disclosure


This article examines the serious potential for a clash between two sets of values: (1) the stated values of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, that persons handicapped within its terms should not be denied access to decent housing on that account, and that mentally handicapped tenants, especially those who may have, but do not necessarily possess, a propensity for violence, have privacy rights; and (2) the landlord’s responsibilities with respect to the safety needs of other tenants. The author addresses a number of policies, including those embodied in federal and state statutes relating to the rights of mentally handicapped persons. The article concludes that a landlord’s disclosure of a mentally handicapped tenant’s disability including a propensity toward violence under certain circumstances, to other tenants is unlawful because such disclosure violates the disabled person’s right to evenhanded treatment under general property law principles, infringes upon the disabled person’s privacy rights, and is an implicit violation embodied in the Fair Housing Amendments Act.

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