HUD: Settlements, Charges Announced in Fair Housing Cases

Last week, HUD announced settlements in fair housing cases alleging disability discrimination at rental housing communities in Massachusetts and Nevada. In a separate case, HUD filed similar charges against landlords in Florida.

In the Massachusetts case, property managers agreed to the settlement after HUD charged them with discriminating against a resident with disabilities by denying her reasonable accommodation request to transfer to an accessible unit. Under the agreement, the companies will pay $12,614 to the resident, draft a reasonable accommodation policy, train staff on the new reasonable accommodation policy, and hire a contractor to improve unit accessibility.

In Nevada, a public housing authority settled a HUD complaint by a resident who alleged that her residency and benefits were wrongfully terminated because of her disability. Among other things, the agreement requires the housing authority to pay her $11,000, reinstate her lease, and grant her reasonable accommodation request to designate a staff person to act as her contact.

And in Florida, HUD charged the owner and managers of a multifamily community with disability discrimination and retaliation against two family members who filed a housing discrimination complaint. One of them lives at the community; allegedly, the community prevented the other person, her cousin, from visiting her because the cousin requires the use of an emotional support animal because of a disability. HUD also alleged that the owners and managers violated fair housing law by requiring personal and unnecessary medical information to grant reasonable accommodations, and by prohibiting emotional support animals and their owners from having access to the development. The charge will be heard by an administrative law judge unless either party elects to take it to court.

“Discrimination against people with disabilities continues to be the most common type of housing discrimination complaint we receive each year,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable and the cases we’re announcing today reflect HUD’s commitment to making sure housing opportunities are available to every American, including those with disabilities.”