Tenn. Community Accused of Refusing Parking-Related Accommodation Requests

The Justice Department recently sued the owners and operators of a 134-unit Tennessee community for alleged disability discrimination and retaliation in violation of fair housing law.

The complaint alleged that a resident had lived independently at the community for more than a decade until she had two strokes in 2010. Allegedly, her resulting impairments limited her ability to take care of herself and required her to use a cane to walk. After living for about a year at a nursing home, she allegedly moved back to the community in a three-bedroom unit she leased with her brother and his girlfriend.

The complaint alleged that the community didn’t assign parking spaces to residents and that the parking lot behind their unit didn’t have designated parking spots for persons with disabilities. Allegedly, there was a concrete parking bumper between the parking space closest to the unit and the walkway to the residents’ patio.

According to the complaint, the residents repeatedly asked the community to remove the concrete parking bumper and to assign an accessible parking space to the resident, but that the community denied their requests.

The complaint alleged that when the residents repeated their requests, this time in writing, with a copy to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the community retaliated by giving them a notice to vacate the property. Allegedly, the community retaliated against them again by filing an eviction action after the residents filed a fair housing complaint.