|HUD No. 22-199
HUD Public Affairs
October 3, 2022
HUD CHARGES CALIFORNIA HIGH-RISE CONDOMINIUM OPERATORS WITH DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging Aqua 388 Community Association, FirstService Residential California, LLC and two of its employees, and AQUA Maintenance Corporation, operators of a 556-unit, high-rise condominium tower located in Long Beach, with discriminating against a homeowner because of disability by refusing to provide her a permanent parking space to accommodate her wheelchair-accessible van. Read HUD’s Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of disability, including refusing to allow reasonable accommodations that would otherwise permit homeowners with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing. A reasonable accommodation includes providing an accessible parking space.
“It is unacceptable that residents, such as this homeowner, are denied equal use and enjoyment of their homes because of the use of a wheelchair,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is steadfast in ensuring that people with disabilities have accessible parking, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act.”
“Today’s action should remind housing providers that they must provide accessible parking spaces so all residents can access and use the parking options available to them,” said HUD General Counsel Damon Smith. “HUD is committed to vigorously enforcing the Act to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.”
HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that the property’s operators denied the homeowner’s multiple requests to provide her with a permanent van accessible parking space. The homeowner depends on a wheelchair for mobility, and her modified van requires an eight-foot clearance on the passenger side so that a ramp can extend. The Charge alleges further that because the homeowner’s designated parking space does not have the necessary clearance for her van’s ramp to extend, she has routinely been forced to scour her building’s parking garage in search of a space that has sufficient passenger-side clearance.
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 homeowner for her losses as a result 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 homeowner.
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.