News Stories

Off-site news items.

Ohio's Kent State to pay 145k in student housing discrimination suit

January 11, 2016
The Justice Department announced that Ohio’s Kent State University (KSU) has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the university had maintained a policy of not allowing students with psychological disabilities to keep emotional support animals in university-operated student housing.
     Under the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, KSU will:

Jacksonville family back in court fighting to get girl's support dog back

January 11, 2016
A Jacksonville family was back in court Monday hoping to get their dog back from the city.
     In August, the city of Jacksonville took the dog because of an ordinance banning pit bulls. Amanda Simmons says the dog, named Edith, is an emotional support animal for her daughter Ahmeah.
     Their attorney says taking the animal violates the Federal Fair Housing Act.
     Simmons says her daughter has gotten worse since the dog was taken away.

Kent State University settles suit over support animals in student housing

January 05, 2016
Kent State University has agreed to pay two former students $100,000 to settle a fair housing lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Justice Department after the school refused to allow the students to keep an emotional support dog in a university apartment.
     The settlement announced on Monday also calls for the school to pay $30,000 to a fair housing organization that advocated for the students and $15,000 to the federal government. The DOJ says in a statement that Kent State will allow students with psychological disabilities to keep animals that provide "therapeutic benefits."
      The DOJ filed the lawsuit on the students' behalf in August 2014. A Kent State spokesman declined to comment on Monday.

Sober home owner must apply for reasonable accommodation

January 04, 2016
Stephen Sheldon, the new owner of an historic Hawthorn Street home, will have to prove the future residents of his building are entitled to an accommodation and that they are reasonable under the Americans With Disabilities and Fair Housing Acts.
     Sheldon, who has proposed turning 49 Hawthorn St. in the city's West End into a sober house for 8 to 12 men in later stages of recovery, said he plans to file an application for a reasonable accommodation with the city this week when he returns from vacation abroad. Under federal law, applicants have to prove they are entitled to a reasonable accommodation and explain why the request is reasonable, said John Markey, Jr., a city solicitor.
     "We want to make sure that if there is an exemption, it is for someone who is entitled to what they are requesting," said Markey.

Complaint filed by HUD over Ridgeland zoning

December 30, 2015
A complaint filed by the Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Dec. 1, is looking into alleged discrimination or potential discrimination concerning a 2014 city zoning ordinance that has ruled 14 apartment complexes in the city non-conforming.
     The complaint identifies five complexes that are located in a "high minority concentrated area in the eastern half of southeast Ridgeland."
     The complaint states that rezoning efforts were largely implemented by all-white departments and committees that do not represent Ridgeland's minority demographics, about 30 percent, according to the complaint. The complaint also alleges that this was specifically done to affect a demographic shift in the city's public school system.

Irvine Co. settles suit alleging discrimination re: emotional support animals

December 28, 2015
Christmas came early to two people who had filed lawsuits against the Irvine Co. and its apartment affiliate earlier this year alleging discrimination against them because they needed emotional-support animals. California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced earlier this month that it had settled the suits for $175,000, which is how much money Irvine Co. Don Bren made in the time it took you to read this story so far.
      From their press release:
     The lawsuits filed in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two residents, and the administrative complaints filed on behalf of six additional residents, alleged the companies failed to accommodate tenants with mental health disabilities by taking steps to discourage tenants from keeping emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation for their disabilities. The companies charged pet deposits and pet rent, imposed breed and size restrictions for legitimate support animals, and failed to engage in an interactive process to verify that tenants had genuine disabilities. The firms also lacked a uniform reasonable accommodation policy and failed to train their leasing professionals at their apartment communities about fair housing responsibilities toward people with disabilities. As a result, some tenants were evicted from their apartments or had their lease offers revoked. Others were forced to pay additional rent.

Minorities exploited by Warren Buffett’s mobile-home empire

December 26, 2015
After a few years living with her sister, Rose Mary Zunie, 59, was ready to move into a place of her own.
     So, on an arid Saturday morning this past summer, the sisters piled into a friend’s pickup truck and headed for a mobile-home sales lot here just outside the impoverished Navajo reservation.
     The women — one in a long, colorful tribal skirt, another wearing turquoise jewelry, a traditional talisman against evil — were steered to a salesman who spoke Navajo, just like the voice on the store’s radio ads.
     He walked them through Clayton-built homes on the lot, then into the sales center, passing a banner and posters promoting one subprime lender: Vanderbilt Mortgage, a Clayton subsidiary. Inside, he handed them a Vanderbilt sales pamphlet.

Delap Real Estate of Northampton, landlords agree to settle fair housing discrimination allegations

December 22, 2015
A local real estate agency has agreed to settle allegations that the company and its agents violated the federal Fair Housing Act by discouraging families with children from renting over concerns that units might contain lead-based paint hazards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Monday.
     Delap Real Estate LLC, at 158 North King St., and two area property owners will pay a combined $9,500 to the Housing Discrimination Project in Holyoke. Delap also has agreed to use the phrases “children welcome” or “family friendly” in all rental advertisements for the next year and to help develop a public service campaign about fair housing for radio broadcast, according to two settlement agreements approved by HUD.
     The agreements do not “constitute an admission by Respondents of any violation of any statute or regulation,” according to the documents, which also state that the agreements do not represent a finding of liability. Reached by the Gazette Monday, a co-owner of the agency and one property owner each said they had not engaged in any discriminatory practices.

Mobile home park discrimintaes

December 18, 2015
A southwest Florida mobile home park has reached a settlement with federal prosecutors over allegations that it discriminated against black people seeking to rent lots.
     The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday said that had agreed to pay $60,000 to resolve allegations it had violated the Fair Housing Act.
     Of the settlement money, $35,000 will be used to compensate victims of the discrimination, and $25,000 will pay a civil penalty to the government.

Louisville residents weigh in on housing discrimination, desires

December 18, 2015
A new report sheds light on how housing discrimination endures in Louisville, and how residents would like the issue to be addressed.
     The federally funded report was released Friday by the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission. It looks at focus groups with more than 60 Louisville residents from protected classes as outlined by the federal 1968 Fair Housing Act and local anti-discrimination laws.
     Participants were asked to discuss what they like and dislike about their neighborhood, what they would change, and where they would live if affordable housing was available across the city.


Subscribe to RSS - News Stories