The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reached an agreement with housing providers in San Diego, Sacramento, and Oceanside, California, over allegations they violated the Fair Housing Act, among other laws, dealing with elderly tenants with disabilities.
According to the settlement, a complaint was filed on August 21, 2019, with HUD, alleging the complainants were injured as a result of possible violations of the Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities. Also, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, including “refusing to make reasonable accommodations.”
“The smallest accommodations mean a lot to individuals with disabilities,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “We welcome today’s settlement and hope that it reminds housing providers everywhere of the importance of meeting their obligation to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”
The victims—a married couple with disabilities living in HUD-subsidized housing—allege the owner and property manager refused to install safety equipment in the bathroom and “retaliated against them” for making the request. The couple claimed they were then issued a notice accusing them of having created a noise disturbance.
The housing providers denied discriminating against the couple but agreed to settle their complaint, HUD says.
Mission Cove Seniors Housing Associates will pay $23,228 to the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. ($3,576 to cover the cost of legal services it provided and $19,652 for the complainants) and will rescind the noise complaint that was issued against the couple.
ConAm Management also agreed to notify all residents at the property that it would install safety equipment in their bathroom at no cost. Additionally, management staff will receive fair housing training.
Earlier this year, HUD announced that is was charging Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act by allowing landlords and home sellers to use its advertising platform to engage in housing discrimination.
HUD claims Facebook enables advertisers to control which users receive housing-related ads based upon the recipient’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, and/or ZIP code. HUD alleges that Facebook then invites advertisers to express unlawful preferences by offering discriminatory options, allowing them to effectively limit housing options for these protected classes under the guise of "targeted advertising.