Mobile Home Park Settles Disability Discrimination Complaints

Late last month, HUD announced that it has approved settlement agreements to resolve allegations that the owners and managers of a Wyoming mobile home park unlawfully denied reasonable modification requests by two families. According to HUD, the community’s Michigan-based owner is the largest mobile home park owner/manager in the nation, controlling more than 60,000 rental lots in 28 states.

The cases came to HUD’s attention when the families filed complaints alleging that the community’s owner and former regional manager denied their requests for reasonable modifications needed by members of their families. Specifically, the families claimed that the community denied requests to erect chain-link fences around their yards so that their children, who are deaf or hard of hearing, could play in a controlled environment.

Federal fair housing law prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities, or from refusing to allow reasonable modifications that may be necessary to afford people with disabilities full enjoyment of a premises.

Under the agreements, the community agreed to provide monetary relief, grant the families permission to erect and maintain chain-link fences, and purchase and install “Deaf Child at Play” signs at designated locations throughout the mobile home park. The community also agreed to adopt reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification policies that are consistent with federal fair housing law, distribute the policies to applicants at all the properties they own or manage, and post fair housing posters in the rental offices for those properties.

“Landlords are required to make reasonable modifications to their units that allow residents with disabilities to fully use and enjoy the place they call home,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “Today’s agreement will remind housing providers of the importance of complying with their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.”