WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it has charging the owners of an Ithaca, NY, apartment complex and its rental manager with discrimination for allegedly refusing to grant the reasonable accommodation request of a resident with disabilities. Specifically, HUD’s charge alleges that Ithaca Rental, LLC, as also known as Ithaca Rental Company, 130 Clinton, LLC, and Fane Enterprise, Inc., and their rental manager denied the resident’s request to have an assistance animal. Read HUD’s charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations so that those with disabilities can reasonably use and enjoy their housing. This includes having strict “no- pet” policies, charging additional fees for assistance animals, or imposing unnecessary and unfair rules upon individuals with disabilities.
“Assistance animals provide invaluable support to individuals with disabilities who require such accommodations to enjoy the place they call home,” said Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take appropriate action when housing providers fail to meet their obligations to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.”
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge 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, he or she may award damages to the woman for harm caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney’s fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages.
Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint of discrimination by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. 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.