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Fair Housing Act laws forbid landlords, property managers, and anyone else involved in the housing industry from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities. Housing industry professionals cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when necessary.

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HUD Announces Fair Housing Charges Against Missouri Duplex Owner

February 19, 2021

HUD Announces Fair Housing Charges Against Missouri Duplex Owner
Housing discrimination has chilling effects on those who want to buy affordable homes, and even housing discrimination in the rental sector can negatively affect a house hunter’s ability to find housing at a reasonable price. Remember, house hunters sometimes need to rent property while looking for a home to purchase. The damage housing discrimination does at the rental stage definitely should not be underestimated.

We report on HUD cases involving Fair Housing Act violations in order to raise awareness of Fair Housing Act rights and responsibilities. And unfortunately, the time has come again to report on Fair Housing violations.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced charges against the owner of rental duplexes in Hamilton, Missouri. Dahms Investments, LLC and the property manager there are being charged with violations of the Fair Housing Act.

HUD alleges the charges stem from the owner’s refusal to grant “a prospective tenant with a mental health disability a reasonable accommodation to waive the required pet deposit for her assistance animal.”

What does HUD specifically say happened? The press release on the agency’s official site states, “the property manager told the woman that she would have to pay hundreds of dollars in pet fees and that she did not look like she had a disability. The charge further alleges that the property manager told the woman that rules related to assistance animals only applied to individuals who are blind and/or deaf.”

In reality, Fair Housing Act laws forbid landlords, property managers, and anyone else involved in the housing industry from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities. Housing industry professionals cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when necessary.

“It’s not a housing provider’s role to determine who does or does not need an assistance animal,” said Jeanine Worden, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the HUD press release. She adds, “Today’s action demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring that the owners and managers of rental properties comply with the nation’s housing laws.”

The Fair Housing charges are normally heard by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge. This doesn’t happen in cases where anyone involved in the case chooses it to be heard in federal court instead. In cases where the verdict goes against the defendant, cash damages and other punitive measures are possible.

Violations of the Fair Housing Act should be reported no matter what stage of the housing process they might occur in. File a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints can be filed online at hud.gov/fairhousing.

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