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The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced a $22,600 Conciliation Agreement between Housing Equality Law Project and the owners and managers of a San Diego-based property management company, settling allegations that they discriminated against persons with disabilities who required the use of assistance animals. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities or from refusing to makereasonable accommodations in policies or practices. This includes waiving no pet policies for assistance or service animals.
“Requiring the use of an assistance or service animal shouldn’t keep a person from qualifying for housing that meets their needs,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s agreement reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers understand their obligations under the law and take steps to meet that obligation.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when Housing Equality Law Project (HELP), a non-profit fair housing advocacy organization based in South San Francisco, filed a complaint alleging that the owners and managers of HKT Cal Inc., discriminated against persons with disabilities. The allegations were based on tests HELP conducted between July 2013 and April 2014, which allegedly showed that several apartment complexes managed by HKT Cal Inc., in San Diego and Spring Valley, Calif. routinely denied housing and reasonable accommodations to persons who required assistance animals.
Under the terms of the agreement, HKT Cal will pay $22,600 to HELP to support the organization’s education and legal advocacy work on behalf of their clients. In addition, the company agreed to provide fair housing training for its agents.
In FY 2015, disability was the most common basis of complaints filed with HUD and its partner agencies, being cited as a basis for 4,548 complaints, or nearly 55 percent of the overall total.