RENT Magazine Q3 '23

While obesity itself is not recognized as a protected class under fair housing laws, perceptions and interpretations of disability play a role. The definition of disability encompasses mental or physical impairments that substantially limit major life activities. Therefore, some individuals may perceive obesity as a disability based on its impact on mobility, daily functioning, or other factors. However, it is important to note that it is not within the purview of housing providers to determine whether someone is disabled or not. Making assumptions or treating individuals differently based on such perceptions can lead to discriminatory practices and potential violations of fair housing laws. In the context of housing accommodations, offering equal opportunities and access to all available units is crucial. Steering individuals with perceived disabilities, such as offering only ground-floor units to someone with difficulty climbing stairs due to obesity, may be considered illegal under fair housing regulations. Instead, it is essential to provide individuals with choices and allow them to decide which accommodations suit their needs and preferences. The classification of obesity as a disability remains a complex topic with implications for fair housing. While perceptions and interpretations may vary, it is crucial for housing providers to uphold fair housing laws by avoiding discriminatory practices and providing equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their perceived disabilities. UNRAVELING THE STATUS OF SMOKING: CAN HOUSING PROVIDERS BAN ITS USE? In recent years, the discussion around smoking and its classification as a disability has gained attention. While smoking-related illnesses can result in disabilities, smoking itself is not recognized as a disability under The Fair Housing Act. The law protects individuals seeking treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol, as these are recognized as a disability, but this protection has not been extended to smokers yet. So, based on this, can housing providers ban its use?



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