WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it reached a Conciliation Agreement with the owner and property manager of Shadowbrook Gardens Senior Townhomes in Morgan Hill, California, a city in Santa Clara County, resolving allegations that they discriminated against a resident with disabilities. Read the Conciliation Agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of a dwelling because of disability, including prohibiting residents from having live-in assistance and refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when a person with a disability requires such an accommodation.
“Residents with disabilities have the right to reasonable accommodations that allow them to use and enjoy their home, without unnecessary and invasive questioning,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with housing providers to ensure they meet their obligation to comply with national fair housing laws.”
The agreement resolves a complaint brought by a resident with a mobility impairment alleging that the owner and property manager of Shadowbrook Gardens discriminated against her because of her disability. According to the complaint, she requested to have a live-in aide and a key to a locked gate near her unit that would make it easier for her to come and go. In both instances, the owner and property manager allegedly asked her intrusive questions about her disability, challenged whether she really had a disability, asserted that the development was for individuals who could live independently, and ultimately denied her requests. The nonprofit group Project Sentinel, a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, assisted the resident with filing her complaint and later filed its own complaint.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreement, the owner and property manager will pay $4,000 to the resident and $7,000 to Project Sentinel, which will use the money to further its fair housing mission. The agreement also requires the owner to keep the gate near the resident’s unit unlocked or provide her with a key; allows the resident to have a live-in caregiver; and requires the owner and property manager to obtain fair housing training and implement a reasonable accommodation policy that complies with the Fair Housing Act.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple and Android devices.