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HUD No. 24-131
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
May 30, 2024

HUD Charges Puerto Rico Homeowner’s Association with Disability Discrimination

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today it has charged Consejo de Titulares del Condominio Italia 2027 (the “Condominium Italia 2027 Council of Owners”), the homeowners association for a condominium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with violating the Fair Housing Act by revoking its approval and refusing to allow an owner with a disability to power the self-installed elevator in her 3-story unit with an external generator. Read the Charge.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of disability, including the refusal to allow reasonable accommodations or modifications that would permit homeowners with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing. One example of reasonable accommodation can be a waiver of a policy that would prevent a person from being able to fully use and enjoy their home. In this case, a reasonable modification request includes allowing the homeowner, at her own expense, to make structural changes to the property to use and enjoy her home.

“Failure to permit an individual with disabilities reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification when such accommodation or modification is necessary is a failure to provide housing,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities by enforcing the Act.”

"It is the right of all residents to seek reasonable modifications as necessary to allow them full access to their home," said HUD's General Counsel Damon Smith. "HUD is committed to ensuring that homeowners like the complainant in this case have the accessibility features they need to fully enjoy their home."

HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that Condominium Italia 2027 Council of Owners, the Respondent, revoked its prior approval of a modification the owner made to the façade of the property to allow an elevator within her multi-story unit, and an external generator to power the elevator in case of power outage. The Charge further alleges that the homeowner’s association denied the owner’s request for reasonable accommodation of a policy related to noise that prevented her from using a generator to power the elevator in her unit. Because of the homeowner’s association’s actions, the owner was ultimately forced to leave her home as she could not move about her 3-story unit without the elevator.

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 from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive 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 complainant.

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. 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.


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