WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently charged Heathermoor II, LLC, and Valhalla Management & Real Estate, LLC, both of Westerville, Ohio, with discrimination for refusing the request of a resident with disabilities to have a designated parking space.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices.
“For many individuals with disabilities, certain accommodations are necessary in order for them to fully enjoy their home,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action to ensure that housing providers recognize and meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”
HUD’s charge alleges that the owners of Heathermoor II Apartments in Weirton, West Virginia, refused to grant a designated parking space to a resident with disabilities, despite the woman providing medical documentation attesting to her need for the accommodation. As a result, the woman and her children had to move to a different complex.
“When a resident needs a designated parking space as an accommodation for her disability and providing one will not be an undue burden or fundamental alteration, a housing provider must do so,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “We want housing providers to know what their legal responsibilities are and to follow them. If they don’t, we will bring charges like this one.”
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 the judge finds that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant for harm caused by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney 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.