Sunday, April 10, 2016

State Civil Rights Commission Files Suit Against Landlord To Enforce Earlier Court Order Prohibiting Housing Discrimination Against Men, Renters In Need Of An Assistance Animal

In Wickliffe, Ohio, The News-Herald reports:
  • The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has filed a lawsuit against a Wickliffe landlord for allegedly engaging in discriminatory rental practices.

    The commission filed suit against Helen Vespe on March 24 in Lake County Common Pleas Court regarding property she owns [] in Wickliffe.

    According to the suit, the Fair Housing Resource Center audited Vespe’s rental practices in July 2010 using testers.

    During those tests … 1) Vespe made a statement that she preferred not to rent to males, 2) set a policy of refusing to allow anyone with an animal assistant to rent one of her apartments, and 3) informed a tester that she would not allow a person with a visual impairment, who required the use of a seeing-eye dog, to rent one of her apartments,” Desmon Martin, director of enforcement and compliance for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, stated in a 2015 court order.
    Now, the commission is asking Judge John P. O’Donnell to enforce its final order.

    … Respondents engaged in discriminatory conduct by informing testers that they would not make an exception to the no-pets policy for animal assistants, and by Ms. Vespe making statements indicating a preference to rent to women and not to men,” Senior Assistant Attorney General David Oppenheimer stated in the suit.”… Respondents have failed to comply with any of the terms set forth in the commission’s final order.”

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