Complaint Arises from Mother’s Request to Move Away from Heavy Smokers

HUD recently announced a fair housing agreement between a San Diego-area property management company and a family with a child who has a respiratory disability. The agreement resolves allegations that property managers refused to grant the mother's request to be moved to a unit away from her neighbors who were heavy smokers.

Federal fair housing law prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing because of a person's disability and from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices.

The case came to HUD's attention when a single mother of a child with respiratory disabilities filed a complaint alleging that the property manager denied her requests to move to another unit because the smoke from her neighbor's unit exacerbated her son's disability. The property managers denied that they discriminated against the woman.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company agreed to pay the mother $5,000 and forgive $5,560.47 that the company alleges she owed. The settlement also requires its property managers to attend fair housing training.

"Allowing a parent to move to a different unit in order to protect the health of their child is not special treatment; it is complying with the law," Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. "HUD will continue working with housing providers to help them meet their reasonable accommodation obligations under the Fair Housing Act."