Presentation on theme: "OVERVIEW What is Fair Housing What is protected Under Fair Housing and Equal Housing Opportunity Laws What is a Disability and when is a request for an."— Presentation transcript:
OVERVIEW What is Fair Housing What is protected Under Fair Housing and Equal Housing Opportunity Laws What is a Disability and when is a request for an accommodation or modification reasonable? Making Accommodations and Modifications The Complaint Process Scenarios, Questions and Answers
Fair Housing Quiz Federal Fair Housing laws apply to: A) Only Sales of single family homes. B) Only Rentals of homes or apartments. C) Rental or sales of 1 to 4 unit dwellings. D) Rental or sales of any dwellings.
Answer: D) Rental or sales of any dwellings. Fair Housing Quiz
Owners of property must permit disabled tenants and applicants to make reasonable modifications to their residences. A) True B) False
Fair Housing Quiz Answer: B) True. Owners must allow applicants and tenants to make reasonable modifications (e.g. bathtub grab bars, low counters) but Owners may make the Tenants pay for the changes and then may require them to pay to return the property to its original condition upon their move-out, unless the Owner is covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Fair Housing Quiz Resident with personality disorder requests a modification to your pet policy which prohibits pets over 25 pounds policy so that she can have a pit bull as an emotional support animal. Must you allow this?
Fair Housing Quiz Answer: It depends.
What is Fair Housing and Equal Housing Opportunity?
Why was the Act Established? To prevent housing discrimination due to an individuals race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, gender, or disability. The Fair Housing Act ensures that all persons receive equal housing opportunity in the purchase, sale, rental, leasing, financing, insuring and advertising of housing. June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity10
It is illegal under the Fair Housing Act for landlords to harass, intimidate, threaten, interfere with, or evict a tenant because of his or her race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, gender, or disability. The same law prohibits the landlord from attempting to evict a tenant for filing a complaint or lawsuit charging the landlord with discrimination. June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity11
All of the states and many cities have enacted fair housing laws as well. Some of these laws are not as strict as the federal law, but some are stricter because they protect additional classes of persons. June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity12
WHO IS SUBJECT TO FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY LAWS? Real Estate operators, brokers and agents Savings and Loan associations, mortgage lenders, banks, or other financial institutions Property managers Builders, contractors and developers Owners of building lots Advertising media Homeowners advertising and selling their own home Multiple listing services and/or real estate related organizations Insurers and agents
What is Protected Under Fair Housing and Equal Housing Opportunity?
Protected Classes Discrimination based on the following factors is prohibited: *Race *Color *National Origin *Religion *Sex *Disability *Familial Status
Disability Disability means a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. One can have either a history of the impairment or can be viewed by others as having an impairment.
What is an impairment? Impairment means diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism Not just physical disabilitiesalso includes mental disabilities as well as conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, mental retardation, emotional illness, etc. which may not be readily apparent to observer
What does substantially limits a major life activity mean? HUD and the DOJ say: The term substantially limits suggests that the limitation is significant or to a large degree.
What is a major life activity? MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: *walking*seeing *hearing *speaking *breathing *learning *working*caring for your daily needs
Newly constructed multifamily dwellings (apartment complexes) with 4 or more units first occupied after March 13, 1991, must provide the following basic accessibility to persons with disabilities: 1.one entrance to the building on an accessible route; 2.accessibility to public areas (i.e., lobby or swimming pool); 3.a door wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs; 4.accessibility to each unit; 5.sufficient reinforcement in bathroom walls to install grab bars; 6.controls low enough for use by a person in a wheelchair; and 7.kitchens and bathrooms designed for wheelchair access. Protections based on disability.
June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity21 Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Monday, December 27, 2010 Justice Department Settles Disability Discrimination Case Against Property Management Company for $1.25 Million WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a $1.25 million agreement with management company Warren Properties Inc., Warren Village (Mobile) Limited Partnership and Frank R. Warren to settle allegations that the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant a tenants requests for a reasonable accommodation.
HUD No FOR RELEASE Shantae GoodloeMonday (202) May 13, 2013 HUD CHARGES PENNSYLVANIA HOMELESS SHELTER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST INDIVIDUAL WITH DISABILITIES City Rescue Mission of New Castle refused to admit blind individual with guide dog WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging City Rescue Mission of New Castle (CRM) and one of its employees with refusing to accept a blind man and his guide dog at a homeless shelter in New Castle, PA. HUDs investigation found that CRM denied a reasonable accommodation request to allow the man to keep his dog in the shelter, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. According to HUDs charge, a blind, homeless individual contacted CRM in order to seek shelter. HUDs charge alleges that a CRM employee informed the man that he could not move into the shelter with his guide dog even after the man said that he could not be without his service animal. When a caseworker from Lawrence County Community Action, an organization that assists low-income people, contacted the shelter and explained that the man needed the guide dog because of his disability, the CRM employee again refused, saying that the dog would have to go elsewhere. ###
HUD No FOR RELEASE Patricia Campbell/Scott HudmanTuesday / December 4, 2012 HUD, HOUSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY SETTLE DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT INVOLVING DEAF RESIDENT FORT WORTH - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Houston Housing Authority. The agreement settles allegations that the housing authority initially refused a deaf residents requests to have a sign language interpreter present at a hearing to determine her eligibility to remain in HUDs Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The resident alleged that when the housing authority refused to provide an interpreter, she was forced to use her daughter, who is a minor and is not fluent in American Sign Language, to interpret for her. Additionally, the resident alleged that the housing authoritys refusal to provide an interpreter caused her to lose her HCV program eligibility. In her complaint, the resident alleged that she twice asked the housing authority to provide a translator for the hearing, but none was provided, and that the complex nature of her HCV eligibility hearing prevented her daughter from effectively interpreting for her. The outcome of the hearing was that the residents housing assistance was terminated. After the resident filed a complaint with HUD, the housing authority held a second hearing, during which an interpreter was provided. Following the second hearing, the residents housing assistance was reinstated.
Under the agreement, the Houston Housing Authority paid $4,251 in rental assistance payments that were owed to the resident's landlord for the period her rental assistance was terminated. The housing authority also notified its employees of its intent to provide sign language interpreters for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, agreed to inform new HCV program participants of their right to request reasonable accommodations, including interpreters, and agreed not to retaliate against the resident or her children in any way.
HUD Region V No A Contact: Laura J. Feldman (312) FOR RELEASE Tuesday, September 25, 2012 HUD CHARGES MINNESOTA PROPERTY OWNER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST TENANT WITH DISABILITIES Woman with disabilities denied service animal CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged the owner of a Grand Rapids, MN, apartment complex with violating the Fair Housing Act by denying a request from a disabled woman to reside in her apartment with a medically-prescribed support animal. The owner operates the property as Jays Hilltop Rentals. According to HUDs charge, the tenant obtained a letter from a medical professional treating her explaining that she was disabled within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act and needed a support animal to alleviate symptoms associated with her disabilities. HUDs charge further alleges that when the tenant tried to present the letter to the property owner, he refused to read it, threw the note on the floor, and yelled at the tenant to get rid of the animal or he would get rid of the tenant. The owner later offered to let the tenant keep her support animal if she tripled her security deposit.
Joseph Phillips (678) FOR RELEASE Thursday, October 4, 2012 HUD REACHES AGREEMENT WITH ATLANTA HOUSING PROVIDERS ON CLAIM THAT MANAGER DISCRIMINATED AGAINST DISABLED TENANT ATLANTA - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has reached a Conciliation Agreement with Brookside Park Limited Partnership and Peabody Properties South, LLC, the owner and management company for Brookside Park Apartments in Atlanta, and a former property manager, settling allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a tenant with disabilities to transfer to a first-floor unit. "Property owners and managers have an obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which includes ensuring that their policies do not discriminate against persons with disabilities," said Carlos Osegueda, HUD's Region IV Director for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The settlement is the result of an investigation HUD conducted after the tenant filed a complaint alleging that the manager of the complex denied her request to move to a ground-floor unit. The resident provided the manager with documentation from her doctor verifying her disability and need to move to a ground-floor unit, but the manager denied her request, even though a ground-floor unit was available. Under the agreement, Brookside Park Limited Partnership and Peabody Properties South, LLC, will pay the resident $10,000 and inform all of their agents and employees, including officers and board members, of the terms of the agreement. In addition, prior to December 31, 2012, all management staff at Brookside Park Apartments must attend Fair Housing training conducted by HUD or another appropriate agency or facility approved by the Department.
Making Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications
What is a reasonable accommodation? A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a housing providers rule, policy, practice, or service. when such accommodations may be necessary to afford persons with disabilities equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY Washington, D.C. May 17, 2004 JOINT STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
In this Statement, HUD and DOJ gave the following examples of Reasonable Accommodation: Example 1: A housing provider has a policy of providing unassigned parking spaces to residents. A resident with a mobility impairment, who is substantially limited in her ability to walk, requests an assigned accessible parking space close to the entrance to her unit as a reasonable accommodation. There are available parking spaces near the entrance to her unit that are accessible, but those spaces are available to all residents on a first come, first served basis. The provider must make an exception to its policy of not providing assigned parking spaces to accommodate this resident.
Example 2: A housing provider has a policy of requiring tenants to come to the rental office in person to pay their rent. A tenant has a mental disability that makes her afraid to leave her unit. Because of her disability, she requests that she be permitted to have a friend mail her rent payment to the rental office as a reasonable accommodation. The provider must make an exception to its payment policy to accommodate this tenant.
Example 3 A housing provider has a "no pets" policy. A tenant who is deaf requests that the provider allow him to keep a dog in his unit as a reasonable accommodation. The tenant explains that the dog is an assistance animal that will alert him to several sounds, including knocks at the door, sounding of the smoke detector, the telephone ringing, and cars coming into the driveway. The housing provider must make an exception to its no pets policy to accommodate this tenant.
So--what is a reasonable modification and how is it different from a reasonable accommodation?
Washington, D.C. March 5, 2008 JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING REASONABLE MODIFICATIONS UNDER THE FAIR HOUSING ACT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
What is a reasonable modification under the Fair Housing Act? A reasonable modification is a structural change made to existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a person with a disability, in order to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises. Reasonable modifications can include structural changes to interiors and exteriors of dwellings and to common and public use areas.
What are some examples of reasonable modifications? widening doorways to make rooms more accessible for persons in wheelchairs installing grab bars in bathrooms lowering kitchen cabinets to a height suitable for persons in wheelchairs adding a ramp to make a primary entrance accessible for persons in wheelchairs altering a walkway to provide access to a public or common use area.
When can a request for an accommodation or modification be made? At any time, prior or during a tenancy.
How must a request be made? Under the Act, a resident or applicant makes a request whenever he or she makes it clear to the housing provider that he or she needs an accommodation or a modification because of his or her disability. There is no requirement that the request be made in a particular manner or a particular time. You cannot insist or require that the resident or applicant make the request in writing. The request can be made by a family member or someone else acting on the residents behalf.
How must a request be made? (cont.) The person making the request does NOT have to mention the Fair Housing Act or use the words reasonable modification or reasonable accommodation. However, the requester must make the request in a manner that a reasonable person would understand to be a request for an accommodation or modification because of a disability.
So what do you do with an oral request? BEST PRACTICEask the requester to permit you to fill out your request form for his or her review. Helps prevent misunderstandings as to the nature of the request Documents when the request was made and provides evidence of the requested accommodation or modification.
GENERAL RULE: A housing provider may not ordinarily inquire as to the nature and severity of an individuals disability. HOWEVER : in response to a request for a reasonable accommodation/modification, a housing provider may request reliable disability-related information that (1) is necessary to verify that the person meets the Acts definition of disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities), (2) describes the needed modification, and (3) shows the relationship between the persons disability and the need for the requested accommodation/modification.. The resident has made a requestnow what do I do?
Generally, a landlord may NOT ask... Do you have a disability? How severe is your disability? May I have permission to see your medical records? Have you ever been hospitalized because of a mental disability? Who will pay your rent if you are hospitalized? Have you ever been in a drug rehabilitation program? Do you take medications? Why do you receive SSI? PROVIDING DOCUMENTATION OF DISABILITY
Verification of Disability (cont.) The owner or manager cannot request information about the nature, extent, or severity of a persons disability. information verifying that the person meets the Acts definition of disability can usually be provided by the individual herself (e.g., proof that an individual under 65 years of age receives Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or a credible statement by the individual). Delay in responding to the request may be construed as a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation.
Confidentiality of Information Remember that all information regarding a residents request for an accommodation/modification must be kept confidential and must not be shared with other persons unless they need the information to make or assess a decision to grant or deny a reasonable modification request or unless disclosure is required by law (e.g., a court-issued subpoena requiring disclosure).
Persons with Known Disabilities If a persons disability is obvious, or otherwise known to the housing provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation/modification is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information about the requesters disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation/ modification. If the requesters disability is known or readily apparent to the provider, but the need for the modification is not readily apparent or known, the provider may request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability- related need for the modification.
Examples Example 1: An applicant with an obvious mobility impairment who uses a motorized scooter to move around asks the housing provider to permit her to install a ramp at the entrance of the apartment building. Since the physical disability (i.e., difficulty walking) and the disability-related need for the requested modification are both readily apparent, the provider may not require the applicant to provide any additional information about her disability or the need for the requested modification.
Examples (cont.) Example 2: A deaf tenant asks his housing provider to allow him to install extra electrical lines and a cable line so the tenant can use computer equipment that helps him communicate with others. If the tenants disability is known, the housing provider may not require him to document his disability; however, since the need for the electrical and cable lines may not be apparent, the housing provider may request information that is necessary to support the disability- related need for the requested modification.
What can you ask? You may ask for verification of the disability, but cannot require that the verification be from a medical doctor. You can request that the professional verifying the disability state that the accommodation requested relates to the disability. You cannot ask for medical records or the identification of the disability.
What burden is on the resident or applicant ? The resident must have a verifiable disability. There must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation or modification and the individuals disability. Further, the modification must be reasonable.
Examples of nexus between requested accommodation/modification and disability Example 1: A tenant, whose arthritis impairs the use of her hands and causes her substantial difficulty in using the doorknobs in her apartment, wishes to replace the doorknobs with levers. Since there is a relationship between the tenants disability and the requested modification and the modification is reasonable, the housing provider must allow her to make the modification at the tenants expense.
Examples of nexus between requested accommodation/modification and disability Example 2: A resident with a mobility disability asks the owner to permit him to change his roofing from shaker shingles to clay tiles and fiberglass shingles because he alleges that the shingles are less fireproof and put him at greater risk during a fire. There is no evidence that the shingles permitted by the homeowners association provide inadequate fire protection and the person with the disability has not identified a nexus between his disability and the need for clay tiles and fiberglass shingles, so the request may be denied.
Examples of nexus between requested accommodation/modification and disability Example 3 A resident who has diabetes asks for an accommodation that her security deposit be waived. The request can be denied, because there is no nexus between having diabetes and not paying a security deposit.
Who is responsible for expense of making a reasonable modification? The Fair Housing Act provides that while the housing provider must permit the modification, the tenant is responsible for paying the cost of the modification. HOWEVER, Housing providers that receive federal financial assistance are also subject to the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of l973, which obligates housing providers to make and pay for structural changes to facilities, if needed as a reasonable accommodation for applicants and tenants with disabilities, unless doing so poses an undue financial and administrative burden.
Who is responsible for the expense of a reasonable accommodation? Generally, under the Fair Housing Act, the housing provider is responsible for the costs associated with a reasonable accommodation unless it is an undue financial and administrative burden.
What would you do with these requests?
MENTAL DISABILITY Is this an instance where a reasonable accommodation should be made? Tenant suffering from a mental disability receives eviction notice for disturbing other residents and violating community rules. The disabled tenant requests a reasonable accommodation due to her disability by not proceeding with the proposed eviction action and allowing her time to get medical treatment and/or psychological counseling.
MENTAL DISABILITY Yes. The manager must grant the accommodation unless he/she can demonstrate that no reasonable accommodation will eliminate or acceptably minimize any risk the tenant poses to other residents. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity58 LIVE-IN CARE GIVER A tenant needs a live-in aide to help care for him. Thus, the tenant requests that management of the apartment complex reasonably accommodate him by allowing his live-in aid to move in to assist him with his daily activities. Accommodation: If the tenant is disabled and needs the live-in aide to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy his unit, then management must grant the accommodation. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
NO PETS POLICY Applicant: Blind applicant with seeing eye dog qualifies for one bedroom. Accommodation: The owner or manager of the apartment complex would have to waive the no pets policy for a disabled applicant that has a service animal or support animal. Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. A support animal means any animal that provides a therapeutic or psychological aid to a person, due to their disability. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
An applicant for rental housing has a child who uses a wheelchair. The bathroom door in the dwelling unit is too narrow to permit the wheelchair to pass. The applicant asks the landlord for permission to widen the doorway at the applicant's own expense. It is unlawful for the landlord to refuse to permit the applicant to make the modification. The landlord may not, in usual circumstances, condition permission for the modification on the applicant paying for the doorway to be narrowed at the end of the lease because a wider doorway will not interfere with the landlord's or the next tenant's use and enjoyment of the premises REASONABLE MODIFICATIONS
What types of documents and assurances may a housing provider require regarding the modification before granting the reasonable modification ? Cannot require that a tenant obtain insurance or increase the tenants security deposit Cannot insist that a particular contractor perform the work Can require that the contractor selected show that it is able to complete the work in a workmanlike manner and obtain all necessary permits In limited circumstances, may be able to require that tenant escrow funds in an interest bearing account to ensure that funds are available to restore premises to previous state
When can you require escrow? Simply because an individual has a disability does not mean that she is less creditworthy than an individual without a disability. The decision to require that money be placed in an escrow account should be based on the following factors: 1) the extent and nature of the proposed modifications; 2) the expected duration of the lease; 3) the credit and tenancy history of the individual tenant; and 4) other information that may bear on the risk to the housing provider that the premises will not be restored.
Obligation to Restore Premises to Original State The tenant is obligated to restore those portions of the interior of the dwelling to their previous condition only where it is reasonable to do so and where the housing provider has requested the restoration. If the modifications do not affect the housing providers or subsequent tenants use or enjoyment of the premises, the tenant cannot be required to restore the modifications to their prior state. A housing provider may choose to keep the modifications in place at the end of the tenancy.
Examples: Example 1: Because the tenant uses a wheelchair, she obtained permission from her housing provider to remove the base cabinets and lower the kitchen sink to provide for greater accessibility. It is reasonable for the housing provider to ask the tenant to replace the cabinets and raise the sink back to its original height.
Examples cont. Example 2: Because of a mobility disability, a tenant obtained approval from the housing provider to install grab bars in the bathroom. As part of the installation, the contractor had to construct reinforcements on the underside of the wall. These reinforcements are not visible and do not detract from the use of the apartment. It is reasonable for the housing provider to require the tenant to remove the grab bars, but it is not reasonable for the housing provider to require the tenant to remove the reinforcements.
Examples cont. Example 3: Because of a mobility disability, a tenant obtained approval from the housing provider to widen doorways to allow him to maneuver in his wheelchair. In usual circumstances, it is not reasonable for the housing provider to require him to restore the doorways to their prior width.
When can you refuse an accommodation/modification? When it is not related to the persons disability When it would fundamentally alter the nature of the providers operations When it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden An apartment does not have to be made available to a person who is a direct threat to the health or safety of others or who uses illegal drugs. If a persons threat can be successfully eliminated or significantly reduced by a reasonable accommodation, then they can be protected under the Act.
HOT TOPIC! Service Animals vs. Assistance or Support Animals
Whats the difference? Service animal-typically a dog specially trained to assist a person with a disability Examples:Seeing eye dogs dogs that retrieve items for wheelchair bound individuals
Service vs. Support Animal Past 5-7 years, increasing requests for assistance or support animals not necessarily dogs not specially trained to assist disabled persons
One definition of support animal: An animal that, by its very presence, mitigates the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with its handlers condition or disorder. From National Service Animal Registry,
Examples of Support Animals: Cat which helps resident deal with anxiety Iguana which helps resident deal with personality disorder
Found on NSARCO site: If you have an emotional support animal, but need a letter of prescription from a licensed psychologist, click here to get one.
Significant change in 2011 In 2011, the Department of Justice published final regulations under the Americans with Disability Act which stated: Only dogs are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA BUTnew regulations on miniature horses A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
Examples of Service Animals under the ADA seeing eye dog for the blind dog that alerts a deaf person dog that alerts and protects a person who is having a seizure calming a person with PTSD during an attack
DOJ added the following important note: Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
HUDs Response HUD issued an official notice on April 25, 2013 which states: DOJs limitation of service animals to include only dogs who are specially trained and to exclude emotional support animals has no effect on Fair Housing obligations of housing providers Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for any assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, under the FHA and Section 504.
HUDs Response, cont. Two pronged test: (1) is the person seeking the assistance animal disabled? (2) Does this person have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? If answer to either question is no, then the request for an accommodation may be denied
HUDs Response, cont. If answer to either question is yes, then accommodation must be granted, unless: (1) the specific assistance animal poses a direct threat to health or safety of others that cant be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation; (2) the specific assistance animal would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.
HUD Response, cont. Breed, size and weight limitations may not be applied to an assistance animal. A determination that an assistance animal poses a direct threat of harm to others or substantial physical damage to the property must be based on individualized assessment that relies on objective evidence about the specific animals actual conduct, and not on mere speculation or evidence of harm that other animals have caused.
WAIT! Is there a limit to the number of service/support animals one resident can have? Service/support animals may provide different assistance (a seeing eye dog, a dog that alerts a resident to seizures) Must go through same analysis and any request for an accommodation Verifiable disability Request is reasonably related to the disability Doesnt create undue burden or hardship on housing provider
What you can do to ensure compliance with your companys accommodation/modification policy Read the policy and keep it handy for easy reference. Be a good listener when residents and applicants are talking to youthey may be requesting an accommodation or modification. Reduce oral requests to writing. If disability is not apparent or it is unclear if request is related to disability, ask for verification of the disability and the need for the accommodation/modification from a medical professional. Send any requests promptly to your Coordinator. Keep a list of requests and follow up as necessary.
What you can do to ensure compliance with your companys policy Keep all requests and medical information confidential. Dont assume that every accommodation or modification will be at the owners expense. Avoid making promises to residents about if, when and how the accommodation/modification will be made. Refer to the time guidelines in the Policy.
Some Interesting Questions and Quandaries
Juvenile Delinquents, Sex Offenders, Drug Users and the Mentally Ill juvenile offenders and sex offenders, by virtue of that status, are not persons with disabilities protected by the Act persons who are currently engaging in the current illegal use of controlled substances are not persons with disabilities protected by the Act an individual with a disability whose tenancy would constitute a "direct threat" to the health or safety of other individuals or result in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by reasonable accommodation
How can you determine if someone with a mental illness is a direct threat? You cannot exclude an individual from housing based on fear, speculation, or stereotype A determination that an individual poses a direct threat must rely on an individualized assessment that is based on reliable objective evidence (e.g., current conduct, or a recent history of overt acts). The assessment must consider: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of injury; (2) the probability that injury will actually occur; and (3) whether there are any reasonable accommodations that will eliminate the direct threat.
Direct Threat (cont.) In evaluating a recent history of overt acts, a provider must take into account whether the individual has received intervening treatment or medication that has eliminated the direct threat (i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm) May request that the individual document how the circumstances have changed so that he no longer poses a direct threat Must have reliable, objective evidence that a person with a disability poses a direct threat before excluding him from housing on that basis
Case Study Direct Threat Applicant had been institutionalized since late childhood; no surviving family members Mental institution was closing, State-appointed guardian applied applicant for residency No credit history, no prior rental history; guardian of applicant asked for accommodation to waive companys credit and rental history policy What do you do?
Case Study – Wheelchair Bound Applicant Requests 6 th floor apartment in highrise apartment. What do you do?
Do Health and Safety Concerns for Resident requesting Accommodation and other Residents trump Fair Housing Act?
What if a more reasonable accommodation or modification would work? Resident requests handicapped toilet. Provide raised seat instead of entirely new toilet. Resident requests roll-in bathtub for wheelchair. Provide roll-in shower instead.
The Complaint Process
HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity93 STEP 1 - INTAKE STEP 2 – FILINGSTEP 3 - INVESTIGATIONSTEP 4 - CONCILIATIONSTEP 5 – NO CAUSE DETERMINATIONSTEP 6 – CAUSE DETERMINATION AND CHARGESTEP 7 – HEARING IN A U.S. DISTRICT COURTSTEP 8 – HEARING BEFORE A HUD ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE (ALJ)
STEP 1 - INTAKE Anyone can file a complaint with HUD at no cost. Initial interviews may be conducted by telephone. If HUD has the authority to investigate, it will file the complaint. If HUD has no authority to investigate, HUD cannot accept the complaint and the case must be closed. If the alleged discrimination occurs within a state or locality in HUDs Fair Housing Assistance Program, HUD will refer the complaint to that agency. HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process
STEP 2 - FILING Once the complaint is accepted, a HUD investigator will draft a formal complaint for signing by the complainant. Within 10 days after receipt of the signed complaint, HUD will send notification of the filing of a complaint to the respondent. Respondent must submit an answer to the complaint to HUD within 10 days of receiving the notice. HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process
STEP 3 - INVESTIGATION HUD will interview the complainant, the respondent, and pertinent witnesses. The HUD investigator may collect relevant documents or conduct onsite visits. The HUD investigator may take depositions, issue subpoenas and interrogatories, and compel testimony or documents. HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process
STEP 4 - CONCILIATION The Fair Housing Act requires HUD to bring the parties together to attempt conciliation in every fair housing complaint. The choice to conciliate the complaint is completely voluntary on the part of both parties. If the parties sign a conciliation agreement, HUD will end its investigation and close the case. If the agreement is breached HUD can recommend that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) file suit to enforce the agreement. HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process
STEP 5 – NO CAUSE DETERMINATION If after a thorough investigation HUD believes no discrimination occurred, HUD will issue a determination of "no reasonable cause" and close the case. Upon receipt of a request for reconsideration by the Complainant, HUD will invite all parties to submit additional evidence pertinent to the investigation for review. HUD can decide to affirm the previous decision, re-open the case. If the complainant disagrees with HUD's determination, a civil court action can be filed in the appropriate U.S. district court. HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process
June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity99 STEP 6 –CAUSE DETERMINATION and CHARGE If the investigation produces reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred or is about to occur, HUD will issue a determination of "reasonable cause" and charge the respondent with violating the law. HUD will send a copy of the charge to the parties in the case. After HUD issues a charge, an ALJ will hear the case unless either party elects to have the case heard in federal civil court.
HUD's Title VIII Fair Housing Complaint Process June 2011Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity100 STEP 7 – HEARING IN A U.S. DISTRICT COURT Within 30 days after either party elects to go to federal court, DOJ will commence a civil action on behalf of the aggrieved person in U.S. district court. If the court finds that a discriminatory housing practice has or is about to occur, the court can award actual and punitive damages as well as attorneys fees.
101 Lisa Wannamaker is a partner in the Atlanta office of Coleman Talley LLP. Prior to joining Coleman Talley, Lisa was Vice President and General Counsel for Jacada Ltd., a software company traded on the NASDAQ, and the head of the technology law team at Long Aldridge & Norman (now McKenna Long & Aldridge) in Atlanta, Georgia. She began her legal career in 1985 at Hicks, Maloof & Campbell, also in Atlanta. Lisa serves as outside general counsel for residential property management companies, advising them on corporate and employment law issues, as well as landlord tenant and fair housing matters. She also provides training and seminars to clients on employment, landlord tenant, and fair housing topics and has served as a panelist and speaker at industry meetings. In her employment law practice, Lisa regularly counsels clients regarding employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenants, independent contractor agreements, employee handbooks and other contractual matters. In addition, she assists clients in defending charges of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Her practice also includes preventative counseling on diverse areas of employment law, such as compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and Equal Employment Opportunity. Lisa received her Bachelor's Degree in English from Emory University in 1982 and Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Emory University in Contact Information: Lisa W. Wannamaker, Esq. Partner, Coleman Talley LLP 7000 Central Parkway NE, Suite 1150 Atlanta, GA Ph. (678) Fax (770)