Las Vegas Community Settles Dispute Involving Transfer Request
The owners and managers of a Las Vegas community recently agreed to settle a HUD complaint alleging that the on-site manager denied a request to move a married couple with disabilities to a first-floor unit.
Federal fair housing law prohibits discrimination 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.
The case came to HUD’s attention when the residents filed a complaint alleging that they were denied the opportunity to move to a first-floor unit despite being told upon moving in that they would be able to transfer to a first-floor unit as soon as one became available.
The couple further alleged that they made the same request on numerous occasions over a seven-year period, but each time their request was denied even though they observed first-floor units being rented to others. Earlier this year, according to the couple, the community approved their request to move to a first-floor unit but told them that they would have to pay a move-in fee of $700 and an additional $400 security deposit. Allegedly, the couple couldn’t afford the extra costs and was forced to move out. The housing providers deny that they discriminated against the couple.
Under the settlement agreement, the owners and managers agreed to pay the couple $6,000, forgive $1,392 in unpaid rent, and amend their fair housing policies to include information about reasonable accommodations. In addition, all leasing and management staff who work with tenants at the community will attend fair housing training.
“Housing providers need to understand that many people with mobility impairments rely on accommodations to fully enjoy their home, and that they have an obligation to provide those accommodations,” Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “Hopefully today’s settlement will make more housing providers aware of their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.”