|HUD No. 21-020
HUD Public Affairs
February 9, 2021
HUD CHARGES MISSOURI HOUSING PROVIDER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST APPLICANT WITH A DISABILITY
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Dahms Investments, LLC, the owner of duplex apartments in Hamilton, Missouri, and their property manager, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant a prospective tenant with a mental health disability a reasonable accommodation to waive the required pet deposit for her assistance animal.
HUD’s charge specifically alleges that the property manager told the woman that she would have to pay hundreds of dollars in pet fees and that she did not look like she had a disability. The charge further alleges that the property manager told the woman that rules related to assistance animals only applied to individuals who are blind and/or deaf. 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 when necessary to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. Prohibitions include not allowing people with disabilities to have assistance animals that perform work or tasks, or that provide disability-related emotional support.
“It’s not a housing provider’s role to determine who does or does not need an assistance animal,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring that the owners and managers of rental properties comply with the nation’s housing laws.”
“Individuals with disabilities have a right to be granted accommodations they need to enjoy housing, including the use of an assistance animal,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s Principal Deputy General Counsel. “HUD is committed to making sure housing is equally available for tenants with disabilities.”
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, after a hearing, the administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for her losses that have resulted from 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) 877-8339 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fairhousing.