|HUD No. 22-158
HUD Public Affairs
August 29, 2022
HUD CHARGES KANSAS HOUSING PROVIDER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST APPLICANT WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Fox Run Apartments, LLC, the owner of an apartment complex in Shawnee, Kansas, and property manager Peterson Properties, Inc. with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a prospective tenant, a veteran with a mental health disability, to live with his assistance animal. Read the Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of disability. The Act makes it unlawful to refuse to grant reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, including failing to waive pet restrictions so that persons with disabilities can live with their assistance animals.
"Assistance animals provide people with disabilities, including our country’s veterans, the support they need to enjoy the benefits of housing," said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD is committed to taking appropriate action when housing providers fail to comply with the Fair Housing Act."
HUD’s Charge alleges that the property management company denied both the applicant’s reasonable accommodation request to live with his assistance animal and his application for housing for his family. According to the Charge, the applicant had provided the necessary information to support his reasonable accommodation request through a letter from his psychiatrist at the Veterans Administration. Nevertheless, the management company denied the request and application after insisting, just before the applicant’s move-in date, that the applicant’s psychiatrist complete an additional, unnecessary form, which did not happen because the psychiatrist was on vacation. The applicant was then forced to seek housing elsewhere.
"The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations, including allowing individuals with disabilities to live with needed assistance animals,” said Damon Smith, HUD General Counsel. "As this Charge shows, housing providers may not claim to comply with this requirement but then make it unnecessarily difficult for individuals with disabilities to actually get the necessary accommodation.”
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear HUD’s Charge 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, the judge may award damages to the family for their losses because of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest. If the federal court hears the case, the judge may also award punitive damages to the family.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. 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.