Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tenant With Disabilities Who Allegedly Was Denied Reasonable Accommodation Request For Assistance Animal, Then Denied Lease Renewal When Mentioning The Continuing Need Scores $15K Lawsuit Settlement From Condo Association; HOA Also Agrees To "Donate" Add'l $10K To Non-Profit Group That Trains Service Dogs

From the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (Washington, D.C.):
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] an agreement with Delvista Towers Condominium Association, Inc., of Aventura, Florida, and its property management company, resolving allegations of housing discrimination against residents with disabilities. HUD claimed the condo association and its property managers denied the reasonable accommodation requests of residents with disabilities who needed assistance animals. Read the Conciliation Agreement.
    ***
    HUD initiated a discrimination complaint in April 2014 after receiving several reports from residents of Delvista Towers claiming their rights were being violated because of their disability.

    One resident alleged her request for a service animal for her son had been denied. Specifically, the woman said that when she contacted the property manager about her son's need for the reasonable accommodation, she was told that the request would not be approved and that the condominium was "currently involved in very expensive lawsuits with other residents regarding service animals." The woman further alleged that she was denied the opportunity to renew her lease because she mentioned her son's need for a service animal.

    HUD's investigation indicated that other residents with disabilities were also denied their requests for assistance animals or refrained from requesting an accommodation for fear of being evicted.

    Under the Conciliation Agreement, Delvista and its property management company, AKAM On-Site of Dania Beach, Fla., agreed to compensate one of the aggrieved persons and to donate to a non-profit disability rights organization.(1) They also agreed to develop a reasonable accommodation policy that will be reviewed and approved by HUD and to provide for training of board members and property managers on the new policy and the Fair Housing Act.

    Any person who believes he or she has 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.
Source: HUD Reaches Agreement With Florida Condo nAssociation In Disability Discrimination Case.
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(1) According to the Conciliation Agreement, the condo association agreed to pay the tenant a settlement of $15,000, and the non-profit group, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Inc., a donation of $10,000.

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