Retirement Community Faulted for Policy on Mobility Devices

A Virginia-based retirement community is facing a HUD complaint alleging that its policies on the use of motorized mobility devices amounts to illegal housing discrimination against people with physical disabilities.

According to the complaint filed by Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME), the community unlawfully imposed additional requirements on people who use mobility devices. Among other things, the community allegedly required residents using motorized mobility devices to pay an additional $1,500 security deposit, obtain liability insurance, and undergo additional assessments of their disability from the complex’s staff. The complaint also alleged that residents who use motorized mobility devices were barred from using the property’s transportation services, even though a mandatory monthly transportation fee is factored into each resident’s total rent cost. According to the complaint, applicants and residents who don’t use powered mobility devices weren’t subject to these additional requirements.

HOME’s complaint was filed together with the complaint of a 71-year-old woman who used a motorized scooter after losing her ability to walk from a condition known as severe peripheral neuropathy. The complaint alleged that the resident’s use of a power scooter was a necessary factor in her freedom and independence, and the fines and restrictions imposed on her as a result of her limited mobility are illegal.

“HOME receives more fair housing complaints from people with disabilities than any other protected class,” HOME’s Director of Fair Housing, Helen Hardiman, said in a statement. “Our work in this case demonstrates HOME’s commitment to educating housing providers and consumers on their rights and responsibilities under fair housing laws.”

Source: Housing Made Equal of Virginia, Inc.