WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owner and manager of a Salt Lake City apartment complex with housing discrimination for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act by denying the reasonable accommodation requests of residents with disabilities. Read the charge.
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The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for people with disabilities.
“For nearly three decades, people with disabilities have had a right to request the reasonable accommodations they need to fully enjoy their homes, but that right is still being denied,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take actions that ensure that property owners and managers understand their rights and responsibilities under the law and take steps to comply with those obligations.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when the Disability Law Center filed a fair housing complaint with HUD on behalf of a female resident with disabilities at Pine Cove Apartments, in Salt Lake City, who alleged that the owner, BJJ Enterprises, and the manager of the 48-unit complex had denied her request to keep an assistance animal. The Disability Law Center conducted fair housing tests, which revealed evidence that Pine Cove managers discriminated against people with disabilities. According to HUD’s Charge, Pine Cove strictly adheres to its “no-pets” policy, even when medical documentation attesting to the need for a reasonable accommodation is presented.
Disability is the most common basis of complaint filed with HUD and its partner agencies. Last year alone, HUD and its partners considered more than 4,500 disability-related complaints, nearly 55 percent of all fair housing complaints.
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of 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 civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.
People 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 and Android devices.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.