Sunday, February 19, 2017

Single-Family Home's Landlord Who Allegedly Refused To Waive $250 Pet Deposit Fee For Tenant With Emotional Support Dog Now Finds Itself In Battle With HUD's Fair Housing Cops

From the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (Washington, D.C.):
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] that it is charging the landlords of a Moore, Oklahoma rental home with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying the reasonable accommodation requests of their tenant, a veteran with disabilities. Read the charge.

    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. This includes waiving pet fees for persons with disabilities who use assistance animals.

    The case came to HUD’s attention when a combat veteran living with a mental disability(1) who uses an emotional support animal filed a complaint alleging that the owners of the house he was renting. The tenant complained that AMH 2015-1 Borrower, LLC, and its management company, AH4R Management – OK, LLC, refused to waive their pet deposit fee.(2)

    HUD’s charge alleges that although the man provided the owners and management company with medical documentation attesting to his need for the animal, they denied his request to waive a $250 pet fee. Under the law, assistance animals are not considered pets.

    Disability is the most common basis of fair housing complaint filed with HUD and its partner agencies. Last year alone, HUD and its partners considered over 4,900 disability-related complaints, or more than 58 percent of all fair housing complaints.
    ***
    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.
For more, see HUD Charges Oklahoma Landlords With Discriminating Against Veteran With Disabilities.
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(1) According to HUD's complaint, the combat veteran is diagnosed with service-connected Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), which substantially limit his personal, work, and social life. The disability's symptoms include anxiety, isolation, avoidance, and a difficulty and a difficulty going out in public, as well as difficulty with interpersonal relationships and insomnia, the complaint states.

(2) According to HUD's complaint, the subject property being rented is a single family home, and the animal involved is a dog.

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