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HUD 10-215
Shantae Goodloe
(202) 708-0685
FOR RELEASE
Friday
October 1, 2010

HUD CHARGES NEW YORK LANDLORD WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST A TENANT WITH DISABILITIES
First-come, first-served parking policy discriminates against tenants with disabilities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging Heatherwood-Norwich Gate LLC, the owner and manager of an apartment complex in East Norwich, New York, with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly denying a resident with disabilities an accessible parking space he requested. HUD’s charge also alleges that the complex refused to modify its first-come, first-served parking policy to accommodate the resident’s request.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations when they are needed to afford persons with disabilities the opportunity to use and enjoy their homes.

“Housing providers have a legal obligation to modify their policies and practices for persons with disabilities,” stated John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will vigorously enforce legal protections that help ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to their homes.”

The resident suffers from peripheral vascular and coronary artery disease and a non-healing wound in his foot, rendering him unable to walk long distances. According to HUD’s charge, the resident informed the managers of his building of his condition and repeatedly asked for an assigned accessible parking space, but they denied his requests, citing their policy against designating spaces for residents.

The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to aggrieved persons for the damages caused them by the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines in order to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages to aggrieved persons.

FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY).

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