HUD Action on Alleged Fair Housing Violations

Tags: Advocacy

For HUD to charge a company with a violation, typically they first receive a complaint that is then verified.  After they verify the complaint, HUD, on behalf of the aggrieved persons, conducts an investigation.  If HUD determines that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred, then they will charge the company (referred to in the Charge of Discrimination as the “Respondent.”)

HUD’s charged, collectively, PadSplit, Inc, and Kevin and Lydia Forrestal.  The Forrestal’s where the property owners, and PadSplit was their hired property manager.

HUD charged PadSplit and the Forrestals when they failed to grant a tenant’s “reasonable accommodation requests for a service animal and visual doorbell.”

The tenant is deaf and requires a service animal.  The tenant requested her service animal, but PadSplit responded that they did not accept the certificate like the one the tenant supplied as proof of her service dog necessity but required verification by a doctor or a doctor proscribed note.  The tenant then asked for a flashing doorbell and produced a letter of reasonable accommodation to have her service animal from a doctor.  There was additional back and forth communications between the tenant and PadSplit employees, which called into question the validity of the service dog’s credentials, and then a response to the flashing doorbell request that, “Each home is owned by an individual host/owner, as any traditional single family home would be. Traditional single family homes do not fall under ADA guidelines. Therefore, PadSplit is not required to provide any of the requested amenities. However, we have forwarded your request to the owner of this home and are awaiting a response.”  Later, the same month and nine months after beginning the lease, the tenant moved out.

In HUD’s charge they have requested an order that would require PadSplit and all their employees along with the homeowners, the Forrestals, to attend a training that addresses the Act’s prohibitions against discrimination based on disability, awards compensation to the tenant for “any and all damages,” and asses the maximum civil penalty allowed.

In the second action HUD charged the Grapevine Housing Authority (GHA) with three violations of the Fair Housing Act.  The GHA is a public housing authority that administers a low-income public housing program and a housing choice voucher program. 

The person who made the complaint against GHA has, “disabilities that substantially limit his daily life activities. Complainant’s disabilities include diabetes, which impacts his breathing, circulation, mobility, consciousness, and cognition.”  The facts of the charge lay out an extensive medical history with the tenant as well as an effort to evict the tenant, which was later nonsuited, and a new lease entered into by the parties. 

The tenant then vacated the property 3-months into the renewed yearlong lease.  The tenant explained that his leaving was due to, “the stress [he] had to endure this past year and the toll it has taken on [his] health,” including several heart attacks causing permanent damage to his heart that could not be repaired. Complainant stated that he had never received notification from Respondent GHA that his eviction case had been dropped, and that this made him “feel stressed that they will do this again.”

HUD requested that an order be issued against GHA that included additional Fair Housing training, money damages to “fully compensate for…actual damages caused,” and a civil penalty of $24,793 against each respondent for each violation (3 respondents x 3 violation = $223,137 total).