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HUD continues enforcement of disability discrimination

Posted by Editor on August 1, 2018
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved settlement agreements with housing providers who needed assistance animals or a first-floor apartment. In addition, HUD approved a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with a housing authority that failed to provide enough accessible units for residents with disabilities.

“Denying persons with disabilities the accommodations they need or failing to build accessible housing violates the law,” says Anna María Farías HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Hopefully, the settlements we’re announcing today will help housing providers recognize their obligation to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws and make a commitment to meeting that obligation.”

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on disability. This includes refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services or facilities related to housing. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Latest HUD agreements

Rancho Cordova, California
HUD approved a Conciliation Agreement with the owners of Fountain Crest Apartments settling allegations that the owners demanded that a tenant with disabilities remove her assistance animal from the property. Among other things, the agreement provides that the tenant will receive $10,000 and the property owners will revise their reasonable accommodation policies and receive training to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

San Diego, California
HUD approved a Conciliation Agreement with the owners of Summit at Alpine Apartment Homes Limited Partnership and Property West Residential Management Company resolving allegations that they denied a tenant’s reasonable accommodation request to move to a ground-floor unit due to a mobility disability. Under the agreement, Property West Residential Management Company will pay the woman $6,500. In addition, leasing and management staff will undergo fair housing training.

Pocatello, Idaho
HUD approved a Conciliation Agreement with the owners of rental properties in Pocatello, settling allegations that they denied the request of a tenant with disabilities to keep an emotional support animal. The tenant alleged that the owners initially denied her request at first, but later agreed to grant her request after imposing numerous terms and conditions that violated the Fair Housing Act. Under the agreement, the owners will pay the woman $6,000 and revise their rental procedures to be consistent with the Fair Housing Act.

Honolulu, Hawaii
HUD approved a VCA between the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA). Under the VCA, HPHA will work cooperatively to resolve issues pertaining to a compliance review which found that HPHA failed to comply with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Among other findings, the compliance review revealed that HPHA did not have an adequate percentage of accessible units available for residents with disabilities. HPHA will contract with an expert accessibility consultant to ensure that it meets its accessibility mandates, including conducting assessments of residents’ accommodation needs.

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