|HUD No. 20-162
HUD Public Affairs
September 30, 2020
HUD CHARGES NEW YORK PROPERTY OWNER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST RESIDENT WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is charging the owner of an apartment building in Buffalo, New York, with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to allow a resident with disabilities to keep an assistance animal. Read HUD’s Charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to allow a person with disabilities to use and enjoy a dwelling.
“Assistance animals allow persons with disabilities to perform life’s daily activities,” said Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take appropriate action when the owners and managers of rental properties fail to meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s housing laws.”
“HUD is committed to ensuring that housing providers reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities when needed to ensure them equal access to housing,” said HUD’s Principal Deputy General Counsel, Michael B. Williams.
HUD's charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the family for harm caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney’s fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages.
Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint of discrimination by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. Materials and assistance are available for persons with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.