|HUD No. 22-210
HUD Public Affairs
October 6, 2022
HUD CHARGES NEW YORK CO-OP APARTMENT OWNERS FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PERSON WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has charged the owners of a New York City apartment, Lily and Shahram Daneshgar, with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent to a person with disabilities because he requires assistance animals. Read HUD’s Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. Such discrimination includes refusing 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 their housing. A reasonable accommodation includes waiving a “no pet” policy for assistance animals.
“Reasonable accommodations, such as allowing assistance animals, ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to housing opportunities,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s charge demonstrates HUD’s ongoing commitment to take appropriate action when housing providers fail to comply with our nation’s fair housing laws.”
HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that a prospective tenant attempted to sublease a unit at the cooperative apartment building for himself and his partner. When the prospective tenant requested that he be permitted to live with his assistance animals, the Daneshgars terminated his application, stating that Ms. Daneshgar had allergies and they needed to protect their new floors.
“The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to approve accommodations that are reasonable and necessary, and that includes permitting the use of assistance animals,” said HUD’s General Counsel, Damon Smith. “HUD is committed to vigorously enforcing the Act to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.”
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 prospective tenant for harm caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney’s fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to the prospective tenant.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY) or the Department of Justice at (800) 896-7743 or 202-514-4713. Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing and www.justice.gov. 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.