|HUD No. 21-082
HUD Public Affairs
May 7, 2021
HUD CHARGES KANSAS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION WITH DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging The Apollo Gardens Homes Association, Inc. (HOA), Inc, in Mission, Kansas, and its board president with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to allow a resident with a mobility impairment to expand her own sidewalk at her own expense. The requested modification would have enabled the resident to use her walker and have more stability. HUD's charge also alleges that, rather than granting the requested accommodation from HOA restrictions, the HOA retaliated against the resident by removing her from a position on the HOA board and denying her reinstatement request. Read HUD's charge.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to refuse to permit residents to make reasonable modifications to their existing premises when such modifications may be necessary to afford a person with disabilities full enjoyment of a dwelling. The Act also prohibits housing providers from retaliating against persons with disabilities who request to make such modifications.
"A homeowner association may not deny a resident with disabilities permission to make a reasonable modification they need," said Jeanine Worden, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue taking necessary action to ensure that individuals and entities that control access to housing abide by the requirements of the Fair Housing Act."
"Individuals with disabilities have the right to make reasonable modifications to their own housing to fully enjoy their residence and should never face retaliation for asserting their fair housing rights," said Damon Smith, HUD's Principal Deputy General Counsel. "HUD is committed to making sure housing is equally accessible to residents with disabilities and that their requests to make modifications are handled appropriately."
HUD's charge alleges that Apollo Gardens HOA required association members who sought a modification or accommodation due to a disability to follow the same process as members who sought to remodel a residence for aesthetic reasons. HUD's charge further alleges that when the homeowner with disabilities provided information to the association explaining that the sidewalk expansion would have "made a big difference in [her] ability to use [her] front sidewalk," the association voted against allowing the modification and voted to remove the homeowner from its board.
HUD's charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If, after a hearing, the administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the complainant for her losses that have resulted from the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.
People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fairhousing.
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