|HUD No. 19-102
HUD Public Affairs
July 11, 2019
HUD CHARGES MAINE APARTMENT OWNER WITH DISCRIMINATION FOR DENYING ASSISTANCE ANIMAL TO VETERAN WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Roderick Apartments, LLC in Clinton, Maine, and one of its agents with discrimination for denying a veteran with disabilities the right to keep his assistance animal. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices for people with disabilities. This includes not allowing people with disabilities (impairments that substantially limit major life activities) to have assistance animals that perform work or tasks, or that provide disability-related emotional support.
“No person with a disability should be denied the accommodation they need, especially individuals who served in the Armed Forces to defend our freedom,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work to ensure that housing providers meet their obligation to comply with this nation’s fair housing laws.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when a veteran with disabilities filed a complaint alleging that Roderick Apartments refused to lease an apartment to him because he uses a dog as an assistance animal. HUD’s Charge alleges that tests subsequently conducted by Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA), a nonprofit agency that provides free civil and legal assistance to low- income Maine residents, confirmed Roderick Apartments’ policy of refusing to rent to persons with an assistance animal. In one test, a PTLA tester posing as an apartment seeker who uses an assistance animal allegedly was told that having the animal would be grounds for eviction.
"Fair Housing Act charges on the basis of disability demonstrate HUD's continued commitment to ensuring that housing providers offer equal opportunities to all persons looking to rent a home," said Paul Compton, HUD's General Counsel.
HUD's charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant for his loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.
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 hud.gov/fair housing, or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.