|HUD No. 18-137
HUD Public Affairs
November 19, 2018
HUD ISSUES ORDER SETTLING CLAIM OF DISCRIMINATION BY NEW YORK LANDLORDS AGAINST TENANT WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that Nolo Contendere, LLC, and Nolo Contendere LLC Trust, the owners and agent of an apartment complex in Syracuse, New York, will pay $15,000 under a HUD Consent Order resolving allegations that the owners and their agents refused to allow a woman with mental disabilities keep an assistance animal. Read the settlement agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities and from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices, which includes denying service animal requests.
"People who rely on assistance animals to maintain their independence shouldn’t have their right to housing accommodations unlawfully denied,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue to ensure housing providers understand their rights and responsibilities under the law and take steps to meet those obligations.”
The case came to HUD's attention when a woman with mental disabilities filed a complaint alleging that Nolo Contendere, LLC, and its owners refused to allow her to keep an assistance animal. HUD's charge of discrimination alleged that after the tenant brought the animal home, an agent for Nolo Contendere confronted her about the animal. The landlords refused to make an exception to their “no-pets” policy, even after the woman provided documentation attesting to her disabilities. HUD’s charge further alleged that the landlords initiated a retaliatory eviction action against the tenant after she made the accommodation request, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Under the terms of the Consent Order, entered by a HUD administrative law judge, the apartment owners will pay $15,000 to the woman, undergo fair housing training, and create a reasonable accommodation policy that allows residents with disabilities to keep assistance animals, including emotional support animals.
“This agreement highlights the importance of landlords following the law and making reasonable accommodations to their pet policies for tenants with disabilities,” said J. Paul Compton Jr., HUD’s General Counsel.
April 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. This year, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country are conducting a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of activities, visit HUD.gov/FairHousingis50.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. 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.