|HUD No. 23-211
HUD Public Affairs
September 25, 2023
HUD Charges Landlord with Disability Discrimination
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is charging Lakeview Avenue, LLC (“Lakeview”) in Rensselaer, New York, and its employees with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing a tenant’s request for a disability-related reasonable accommodation to keep an assistance animal and subjecting the tenant to retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation. Read the Charge.
The Fair Housing Act (“Act”) prohibits discrimination and retaliation based on disability, which includes failing to grant reasonable accommodations and interfering with tenants’ exercise of rights protected by the Act.
HUD’s charge alleges that the housing providers refused a tenant’s request to allow her disabled child to have an assistance animal in her unit. Although they provided medical documentation supporting the minor’s need for an assistance animal, the housing provider continued to deny the reasonable accommodation and impose onerous and discriminatory conditions. Shortly after her latest request for a reasonable accommodation, the tenant received a notice to vacate her unit and had to move to another, more expensive, apartment within her daughter’s school district
“Individuals should not be confronted with obstacles when they try to access the safeguards offered under the Fair Housing Act,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to vigorously enforcing the Act to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.”
“The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations when necessary for an individual with disabilities to have equal enjoyment of housing,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s General Counsel. “That includes waiving a ‘no pets’ policy to permit a needed assistance animal.”
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, they may award damages to the individuals for their losses as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination and payment of attorney fees. Additionally, 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 Complainants.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 800-669-9777 (voice) or 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Housing providers and others can learn more about their responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to individuals with disabilities here. 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.