The owners of a manufactured home community in Rochester, New Hampshire have settled a Fair Housing claim involving alleged disability discrimination. The facts of this case may not only surprise you but also give you a good reason to review your Fair Housing policies.
The community in this case is a 55+ community. The facts of the case are that the prospective owners sought to purchase a new home in the community. In doing so, they asked the community ownership for a “reasonable accommodation” for their son to reside with them. Their son is under 55 and with severe disabilities that require special care. The owners of the community denied the parents’ request for a reasonable accommodation.
According to HUD’s Press Release, “The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in their policies or practices when necessary to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling. While the Act permits housing providers, under certain circumstances, to maintain a general policy of offering housing only to persons over 55, those policies are subject to the reasonable accommodation requirement.”
“Persons with disabilities often live with loved ones who provide care, including parents who may wish to live in housing for older persons,” said Demetria McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Such arrangements are protected by law and HUD is committed to ensuring that individuals in a position to control access to housing are aware of their responsibility to comply with the nation’s housing laws, particularly when it comes to reasonable accommodations.”
HUD alleged that the owners violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant the mother’s request for reasonable accommodation and by denying the sale. Read HUD’s Order here.