Housing discrimination affects home buyers at every stage of the real estate buying process including those who are in the planning stages of buying a first home and who need an apartment to live in while on the road to becoming a new home owner.
HUD has announced a settlement in a Fair Housing Act discrimination case brought against the owners of a Los Angeles County company running a development in Duarte, California.
In this case the complaint centers around a housing complex; according to the HUD official site, “The agreement resolves allegations that Downs, LLC and EMNA Management, Inc., the owner and manager of the development, refused to remediate mold at the property as a reasonable accommodation for a couple with disabilities and retaliated against them for asking that the mold be removed”.
Federal Fair Housing Act regulations state that it is illegal to discriminate “in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on disability” according to HUD. That prohibition includes illegal practices such as “refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, services or facilities” associated with finding any type of housing, whether owned or rented.
“Reasonable accommodation requests aren’t requests for special treatment. They are what many individuals with disabilities need to live in the place they call home,” said Anna María Farías, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity who is quoted in a HUD press release about the agreement. “Hopefully, today’s settlement will help housing providers to better understand their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and take steps to meet them.”
Sometimes the only thing that prevents further housing discrimination is the victims of that discrimination coming forward-this was definitely true in this particular case.
The HUD official site says the complaint was registered by couple with disabilities, alleging the owner and management company for their apartment “refused to remove mold that was present in the building, as the couple had requested. The couple also alleged that the owners retaliated against them for making the reasonable accommodation request by increasing their rent and issuing the couple a termination of lease notice.”
The owner and property manager agree to pay the couple $6,000, initiate fair housing training, and “adopt a fair housing policy that includes reasonable accommodation guidance, which will be distributed to all leasing and management staff and property tenants”.
Have you experienced housing discrimination? File a complaint by contacting the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).