There are many types of housing discrimination, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development actively pursues complaints of Fair Housing Act violations. The most recent was announced on the HUD official site in a press release titled, “HUD Charges New Jersey Condo Association with Discriminating Against Resident with Disabilities”.
According to the press release, HUD’s allegations include charges that the the condo association “only allowed the resident, who is sight and hearing impaired, to use the service door instead of the main entrance to the development or the common areas when accompanied by her assistance animal.”
The press release says there are other allegations, one being that the condominium association charged the resident’s daughter a fee “because she walked her mother’s assistance animal in the development’s common areas”.
It is not permitted, under the Fair Housing Act, for housing providers to deny or otherwise restrict housing to persons with disabilities. It is also illegal to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for those with disabilities.
“Subjecting someone to different residency requirements because they use an assistance animal prevents that person from fully enjoying their home and is against the law,” according to Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the press release.
Farías adds, “Condo associations have an obligation to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act when it comes to reasonable accommodations and HUD is committed to ensuring that they meet that obligation.”
Sometimes the only line of defense against continued discrimination is the victim reporting the violations.
This particular case reached HUD when “the daughter of a condominium resident who uses an assistance animal filed a complaint alleging that the condominium association refused to waive its requirement that residents transport pets in carriers when in common areas, and was fined $100 for walking the animal in the development’s common areas. Because of the resident’s mobility impairments, her daughter was primarily responsible for walking the dog.”
“Additionally, when the resident was with her assistance animal, she was required to use the service door ” to bring the animal out of the building.
“Rules that limit access to condominium common areas for persons with disabilities who need an assistance animal violate the Fair Housing Act,” says J. Paul Compton Jr., HUD’s General Counsel, also quoted in the press release.
Do you believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination? Report your complaints to the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).