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Michelle Rydz, Grand Forks, Published March 09 2013

Letter: Lack of help in rental disputes

Your article on rental disputes in North Dakota was timely. On Thursday (Feb. 28), a new nonprofit organization, the High Plains Fair Housing Center, held a workshop in Grand Forks on understanding state and federal fair housing laws. Over 100 participants including lawyers, leaders in the nonprofit community, property managers and local government officials from around the state came to learn about fair housing from Professor Michael Seng and Professor Bill Caruso, two highly respected advocates and scholars on fair housing law, from the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago.

The High Plains Fair Housing Center based in Grand Forks works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunities throughout North Dakota. The center assists people who believe they have experienced discrimination while attempting to rent or purchase housing, provides community education to promote fair housing and conducts preliminary investigations of potential housing discrimination.

It is illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based upon race color, religion, national origin, gender, presence of children, disability, and, in North Dakota, based on age (40 and over), or status with respect to marriage or public assistance.

The HPFHC will advocate on behalf of tenants if the dispute involves the violation of federal or state fair housing law.