Missouri Community Settles Disability Discrimination Charge
The owner and management company of a Kansas City, Mo., community recently agreed to pay $20,000 to resolve allegations they illegally refused to grant the request of a resident with disabilities to have a live-in caretaker.
According to HUD, the community violated federal fair housing law by refusing to waive a policy requiring that the resident live in her unit for six months before she could add someone to the lease. The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices, or services when needed to give persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
In her HUD complaint, the resident claimed that, due to her disability, she needed someone to live with her to assist with her care before the requisite six-month period elapsed. She said that her sister was willing to move into the unit and obtained documentation from her doctor, but the management company denied her request. Allegedly, the resident was forced to vacate her apartment and move to different housing out of state because of the management company’s refusal to grant her request.
Under the settlement, the owner and management company agreed to pay the resident $20,000, adopt and implement a reasonable accommodation policy, and provide fair housing training for all employees who interact with residents.
“When it comes to residents with disabilities, the rigid application of the same rules you apply to others can result in the denial of housing opportunities,” Bryan Greene, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “For over 25 years, federal law has required that housing providers make reasonable exceptions to rules or policies if they are necessary for a person with a disability to receive the same housing benefit others enjoy. HUD will continue to bring these cases to obtain relief for people and to educate the public about these rights and responsibilities.”