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Fair Housing: Landlord must accommodate caretaker
WASHINGTON – Jan. 9, 2014
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the owner and management company of a Kansas City, Missouri apartment complex will pay $20,000 to resolve allegations they illegally refused to grant a request form a tenant with disabilities’ to have a live-in caretaker.
The Consent Order resolves a charge of discrimination that HUD filed last September alleging that an apartment complex, its management company and several affiliated management entities violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to waive a policy requiring the tenant to live in her apartment for six months before adding someone to the lease.
HUD brought the charge following its investigation of a complaint filed by the renter who, due to her disability, needed someone to live with her to assist with her care before the requisite six-month period elapsed. The woman told the apartment management company that her sister was willing to move in and provide the necessary care; and the woman’s doctor documented her need for the accommodation. However, the management company denied her request.
According to HUD, the woman was allegedly forced to vacate her apartment and move to different housing out of state because of the management company’s refusal.
Under the terms of the Initial Decision and Consent Order, the owner and management company will pay the woman $20,000, adopt and implement a reasonable accommodation policy, and provide fair housing training for all employees that interact with tenants.
The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices or services when needed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
“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,” says Bryan Greene, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “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.”
SOURCE: © 2013 Florida Realtors®
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