Saturday, June 04, 2016

Landlord Faces Housing Discrimination Charges Over Allegedly Burdensome Policy Requiring Tenant Requests For Assistance Animals To Be Accompanied By Doctor's Prescription Form Indicating Doctor's Insurance Carrier Could Be Held Responsible For Any Damages Caused By Animal

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) recently announced:
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] that it charged a group of Utah property owners and their property manager with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a single mother and her son, who has disabilities, to keep an assistance animal and by using burdensome policies and forms for reasonable accommodation requests for assistance animals at four properties. Read HUD's charge.
    The case came to HUD's attention when the woman filed a complaint alleging that the owners of Pinnacle Highland Apartments in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, discriminated against her family by refusing to allow her son, who has a mental disability, to keep an assistance animal. HUD's charge alleges that the woman asked that the development's "no-pets" policy be waived as a reasonable accommodation, but NALS Apartment Homes LLC, the property manager, denied her request.

    The charge further alleges that owners and managers had discriminatory policies, including requiring tenants with disabilities who requested reasonable accommodations related to assistance animals to submit a doctor's prescription form in which the doctor indicated that the doctor's insurance carrier could be held responsible for any damages caused by the assistance animal.

    The woman filed her fair housing complaint with the help of the Disability Law Center, a [non-profit] HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Disability Law Center also filed a complaint with HUD, and HUD's charge alleges that DLC was injured by respondents' allegedly discriminatory conduct across the four properties.(1)
    Read HUD's notice regarding service or assistance animals.
Source: HUD Charges Utah Management Company And Landlords With Discriminating Against People With Disabilities (Child with disabilities allegedly denied assistance animal).
(1) According to the HUD charge, Disability Law Center conducted fair housing tests at 3 rental complexes to investigate the landlord's housing practices.