HUD accuses operators of high-rise condominiums in California of discrimination based on disability
HUD Public Affairs
October 3, 2022
HUD CHARGES CALIFORNIA HIGH RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUM OPERATORS WITH DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is instructing Aqua 388 Community Association, FirstService Residential California, LLC and two of its employees, and AQUA Maintenance Corporation, operators of a high rise of 556 units. condominium tower located in Long Beach, discriminating against an owner due to her disability by refusing to provide her with a permanent parking space to accommodate her wheelchair-accessible van. Read the load from the HUD.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on disability, including the denial of reasonable accommodations that would otherwise give homeowners with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their homes. A reasonable accommodation includes the provision of an accessible parking space.
“It is unacceptable that residents, like this owner, are denied equal use and enjoyment of their home due to the use of a wheelchair,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities have accessible parking, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act.”
“Today’s action should remind housing providers that they must provide accessible parking spaces so that all residents can access and use the parking options available to them,” said HUD General Counsel Damon Smith. “HUD is committed to vigorously applying the law to protect the rights of people with disabilities.”
HUD’s discrimination charge alleges that the operators of the property denied the owner’s multiple requests to provide her with a permanent parking spot accessible to pickup trucks. The owner depends on a wheelchair to get around, and her modified van requires an eight-foot clearance on the passenger side for a ramp to extend. The prosecution further alleges that because the landlord’s designated parking space lacked clearance for her van’s ramp to extend, she was routinely forced to drive through the parking garage of her apartment building. looking for a space that has enough clearance on the passenger side.
A United States administrative law judge will hear the HUD charge unless a party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative judge finds, after a hearing, that there has been discrimination, he can award damages to the owner for the losses she suffered as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order an injunction and other equitable relief, to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney’s fees. In addition, the judge can impose civil penalties to assert the public interest. If the Federal Court hears the case, the judge can also award punitive damages to the owner.
Individuals who believe they may be experiencing housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Materials and support are available for people with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.