Bay View Association in Petoskey is under investigation for allegedly requiring homeowners to have Christian beliefs as a condition of residency. In addition, homeowners there have claimed that they aren’t allowed to transfer their property to family members who aren’t Christian. This is despite the fact that the community was told by the U.S. Department of Federal Housing that it isn’t exempt from an anti-discrimination law.
In 2016, there were 18 complaints filed against Bay View claiming that the rule violated the Federal Fair Housing Act. A court hearing has been scheduled for July 30. Those who are in favor of the rule believe that it leads to more financial assistance as well as support from volunteers. They say that this is because the residents are fully invested in the Christian lifestyle that the community promotes. The association requires that a church leader confirm that cottage owners are members of the church or attend services.
As a general rule, individuals cannot be denied the opportunity to buy a home based on their religious affiliation. They also generally cannot choose who to sell a home to based on their religious preferences. Those who engage in such activity could be in violation of fair housing rules. If a person believes that they are a victim of housing discrimination, it may be possible to take legal action.
An attorney could help resolve such a matter either through litigation or through private settlement talks. If a claim is successful, an individual may be entitled to compensation and other forms of relief. Evidence of discrimination might come in the form of statements made by a property owner or language contained in advertising materials for a home. Discrimination may also happen if certain groups are excluded from seeing online housing ads.