WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced the approval of a Conciliation Agreement with Highland Downs Apartments in Duarte, CA. The agreement resolves allegations that Downs, LLC and EMNA Management, Inc., the owner and manager of the development, refused to remediate mold at the property as a reasonable accommodation for a couple with disabilities and retaliated against them for asking that the mold be removed. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on disability. This includes refusing to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, services or facilities related to housing.
“Reasonable accommodation requests aren’t requests for special treatment. They are what many individuals with disabilities need to live in the place they call home,” said Anna María Farías, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Hopefully, today’s settlement will help housing providers to better understand their responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and take steps to meet them.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when a couple with disabilities filed a complaint alleging that the owner and management company for their apartment building refused to remove mold that was present in the building, as the couple had requested. The couple also alleged that the owners retaliated against them for making the reasonable accommodation request by increasing their rent and issuing the couple a termination of lease notice. The residents moved out after receiving the notice.
Under the terms of the agreement, the owner and property manager will pay the couple $6,000, require their employees to take fair housing training, and adopt a fair housing policy that includes reasonable accommodation guidance, which will be distributed to all leasing and management staff and property tenants.
Persons 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).