High Court Takes Up Housing Code Claims

     (CN) – The Supreme Court said Monday it would review whether Minnesota property owners can allege disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act against those who enfoced the housing code in the city of St. Paul.



     A panel of judges from the 8th Circuit decided last year that the claim should move forward from a consolidated class action dismissed by a federal judge at summary judgment.
     Starting in 2002, St. Paul launched a municipal property-improvement body to enforce the housing code. The department director favored owner-occupied housing over rentals, and conducted various sweeps to uncover violations.
     As the Department of Neighborhood Housing and Property Improvement expanded and cracked down on so-called “problem properties,” various current and former rental property owners filed suit.
     All of the other claims alleged by the plaintiffs were dismissed at summary judgment and remained that way on appeal.
St. Paul wants the high court to answer whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act, and lay out what manner such claims should be investigated by the courts.

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