HUD No. 08-109Shantae Goodloe
July 21, 2008
HUD CHARGES NEVADA HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST A HOMEOWNER WITH A DISABILITY
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has charged Arbors Owners' Association, Inc., of Las Vegas, NV, and its management agent, First Columbia Community Management, Inc., with violating the Fair Housing Act by allegedly refusing to provide a disabled homeowner a parking space close to his condominium.
The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in their rules and procedures, such as assigning a parking space, when the accommodation is necessary for a person with a disability to fully enjoy his or her home.
Plato Neocleous has a disability that significantly interferes with his ability to walk long distances. HUD alleges that when one of Neocleous's neighbor's pipes flooded and damaged Neocleous's home and garage, he notified the Association and requested a reserved parking space close to his unit that he could use until his garage was repaired. The president of the Association's Board allegedly scheduled an appointment to assess the damage to Neocleous's garage, but did not keep the appointment.
After receiving no response from the Association for two months, Neocleous enlisted the help of the State of Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau. Despite receiving a letter on Neocleous's behalf from the Bureau, the association refused to grant his request for a reserved parking space unless, among other things, he paid the cost of designating the space as reserved with signage or painting.
"A person with a disability shouldn't be required to meet preconditions to be granted a reasonable accommodation," said Kim Kendrick, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). "This type of discrimination is unlawful, and HUD is committed to taking action whenever we see it."
The 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 each complainant for actual loss as a result of the discrimination, as well as damages for emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of civil rights. The judge may also order injunctive and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition to damages payable to the complainant, the judge may impose a civil penalty in order to vindicate the public interest. In the event of an election, a federal district court judge may also award punitive damages to a prevailing complainant.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1 (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.