The Section 8 federal housing voucher program was conceived as one in which owners of rental properties participate voluntarily, but that may be changing. One straw in the wind: the push for “source of income discrimination” laws prohibiting landlords from turning away Section 8 tenants. Another: a new Third Circuit decision declaring that the owner of a unit converted to market-rate could not refuse to renew a lease even after the original tenant died. I look at Hayes v. Harvey in my new post at Cato.
John K. Ross, Short Circuit: “When tenants fail to pay gas bills, Philadelphia’s municipal utility allows debts to pile up for years without notifying landlords, then puts a lien on the property—effectively making the landlords liable for the debt. When landlords complain, the utility tells them to file a complaint with a state agency that has no jurisdiction to address their complaints. Third Circuit: No due process problem here.” [Augustin v. City of Philadelphia]
Reversing a trial court, the Third Circuit has ruled that a deaf/blind man can sue Cinemark under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) demanding that it provide a “tactile interpreter” so that he could experience the movie Gone Girl. Each interpreter — two would be required because of the movie’s feature length — would narrate the film in American Sign Language (ASL) while McGann placed his hand in contact with theirs to read the signs. The appellate judges rejected the argument that because of the need for subjective stylistic judgments about how to describe the movie’s action, on-the-fly translation would “fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered,” an exception recognized by the law to its accommodation requirement. It sent the case back for further proceedings on whether the theater could plead “undue hardship,” a narrow defense that is often unavailable to large businesses which (it is argued) can cover even very high costs of accommodation by using revenues earned from other patrons [McGann v. Cinemark]