HUD: Community Told Resident to Move to Housing 'Designed for Handicapped Persons'
HUD recently charged the owners and managers of a Kansas community for allegedly discriminating against a resident with disabilities by not renewing her lease, sending her a notice containing discriminatory statements about her disability, and retaliating against her for filing a previous fair housing complaint.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to make housing unavailable to any person because of a disability. It also prohibits retaliating against a person because she filed a fair housing complaint.
The case came to HUD's attention when the resident, who has a physical disability that substantially limits her ability to walk and sometimes requires the use of a wheelchair, filed a complaint with HUD alleging that the community discriminated against her due to her disability and retaliated against her for filing a previous fair housing complaint.
Specifically, the resident alleged that the property manager of the single-family home she was renting sent her a letter stating that she was a holdover tenant and that she should move to housing "designed for handicapped persons." Allegedly, the letter also stated that the home was "not designed for a handicapped person" and urged her to move out. She alleged that residents at their other rental properties were not sent such letters and allowed to keep renting month-to-month.
The resident, who has since moved out, also claimed that the community’s actions were in retaliation for her filing a fair housing complaint for allegedly refusing to let her keep her assistance animal. That complaint had resulted in an agreement that had allowed the woman to keep her assistance animal.
"No one should have to deal with the prospect of losing their home because they have a disability or be subjected to retaliation for standing up for their rights," Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. "Landlords are required to grant reasonable accommodations when tenants need them and HUD will continue working to ensure that they meet that obligation."