|HUD No. 23-280
HUD Public Affairs
December 18, 2023
HUD Charges Hawaii Condominium Association, Management Company, Condominium Unit Owners, and Real Estate Agent with Disability Discrimination
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging individuals and entities associated with a Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, condominium complex, including the condominium association, employees of the condominium association, the property management company, an employee of the property management company, the condominium unit’s owners, and the owners’ real estate broker with discriminating against a resident because of disability. Read HUD’s Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of disability, including refusing to allow reasonable accommodations or modifications that would otherwise permit homeowners with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing.
"The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to permit reasonable accommodations when such accommodation is necessary for an individual with disabilities to have equal enjoyment of housing,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today's action demonstrates HUD’s ongoing dedication to taking appropriate action when housing providers fail to comply with the Fair Housing Act.”
“Today’s action should remind housing providers of their obligation to ensure that residents with disabilities have access to their residences and to accessible parking spaces,” said HUD General Counsel Damon Smith. “HUD is committed to vigorously enforcing the Act to protect individuals' rights."
HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that the property’s condominium association and its employees, the property’s management company and its employees, and the condominium unit’s owners and their real estate agent, prevented the resident from using a temporary ramp to safely access his unit, from accessing a parking space that would allow him to load and unload his wheelchair, and from replacing a toilet at the resident’s own expense to allow him full use of his unit. Because they failed to do so, the resident was often unable to access or use his unit and forced to sleep in his vehicle. Ultimately, their actions resulted in the resident’s decision to revoke his offer to purchase the unit and move out of the unit, which he was renting while the sale was in escrow.
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear HUD’s charge unless any party elects to have the case heard in Federal district court. If the Administrative Law Judge finds, after a hearing, that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the resident for his 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 resident.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing providers and others can learn more about their responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications for individuals with disabilities here. Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing and www.justice.gov.