An Oregon landlord will pay $17,000 after refusing a reasonable-accommodation request to waive a no-pet policy and allow a tenant’s assistance animals – a dog and cat- into their rental property, according to a release.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said in a release that Kye Patton and Bob Cave, the owner and manager of a duplex apartment in Salem, Oregon, will pay $17,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act by denying a reasonable accommodation request for a woman to live with her assistance animals.
The woman had requested the accommodation because her assistance animals help alleviate symptoms of her disabilities that substantially limit her major life activities, including sleeping, concentration, social interaction with others, working, reasoning, and caring for herself.
The owner of the rental property wrote to the tenant, “We will NOT be changing our rental policy. If you feel that you need this accommodation, then please look for another place to live. We will NOT accept any animals of any kind no questions asked. I will give you a good rental reference if needed.”
Cave also verbally denied the tenant’s request, telling her that he would not change the rental policy, would not accept any animals of any kind, and that she should seek new housing if she insisted on an accommodation, according to the release.
The tenant later vacated the property and moved to a different residence that would allow her to live with her assistance animals.
In addition to the $17,000, Patton and Cave must develop a reasonable accommodation policy that is in compliance with the Fair Housing Act and applies to every property they own or manage. They must also maintain records of any reasonable-accommodation requests they receive.
“The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable exceptions to their ordinary policies when necessary for individuals with disabilities to live with their assistance animals,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s General Counsel, in the release. “A housing provider’s refusal to do so is a serious violation of the law.”