WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 2, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Dardania Properties, LLC, in New York, NY, and its owner Hamid Nezaj with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying the requests of two disabled residents of a Bronx apartment building to keep a medically prescribed service and emotional support animal. HUD’s charge alleges that the owners denied multiple requests by the residents and threatened to evict them if they did not remove the animal.
The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices, and services when needed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. This includes waiving “no-pets” policies for persons with disabilities.
“Assistance animals help many people with disabilities perform everyday activities that others may take for granted,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations and HUD will ensure that they meet that obligation.”
The Charge of Discrimination stems from a complaint that was filed with HUD by a mother and daughter with disabilities. The Charge alleges that the landlords initially approved the family’s request for a service dog to help with their disabilities, but later told them that they had to remove the dog. The mother and daughter submitted three additional reasonable accommodation requests, but the landlords ignored the requests and initiated eviction proceedings against the family.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the family for the harm caused them by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may grant similar relief and award punitive damages.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the
need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build
inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and
http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDGov, on facebook at
www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.