Seven Days Examines Fair Housing Laws

may 1, 2008  08:59 am
The Burlington, Vt., alt-weekly explores the world of complex and often contradictory fair housing laws through its own story: The paper has been accused of violating fair housing laws several times, and was fined $45,000 for doing so on one occasion. "'Single occupancy only,' 'Not Section 8 approved' -- these are terms we thought described physical attributes of the property, as in occupancy limits for fire code," notes publisher Paula Routly. "In fact, the pamphlet we were given for reference said that language was OK. Turns out it was designed for landlords, not publishers." The paper also notes the different legal standards for websites like Craigslist and print publications, which has put an even larger burden on alt-weeklies, already facing stiff competition from web-based classifieds. "Even when their users violate state and federal fair-housing laws, the websites themselves are held faultless," Seven Days reports.