HUD Announces Fair Housing Act Charges Against Atlanta Housing Providers
The announcement alleges that Fulton County’s Columbia at Mechanicsville, LP, Columbia at Mechanicsville Partners, LLC, Mechan-Summech, LLC, Columbia Residential Property Management, Inc., and a former property manager, Kalisha Winston, denied a mother’s reasonable accommodation request to relocate to a different apartment after flood damage began to create mold-related health problems for a child with asthma living there.
Fair Housing Law Requires Reasonable Accommodation
Fair Housing Act laws forbid housing providers “from denying or limiting housing to people with disabilities, or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations so that those with disabilities can reasonably use and enjoy their housing” according to HUD.
Those Fair Housing Act rules allow reasonable accommodation under the law including relocating when certain medical issues require it.
"Reasonable accommodations mean so much to families that have a need for them," according to Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
"At HUD we always say, ‘you can’t be healthy if your house is sick,’ so we are deeply committed to protecting the fair housing rights of families, particularly those with disabilities, and making sure that housing providers meet their obligations under the law."
In this particular case, the apartment in question had flooded multiple times, and the resulting mold and mildew brought symptoms of severe asthma; according to HUD, “...one of the mother’s minor sons developed increasingly severe asthma symptoms that required multiple treatments by a specialist, including surgery.”
The mother involved in the Fair Housing Act complaint requested that the family be allowed to move. That request was denied.
Where The Case Goes From Here
The Fair Housing Act case is scheduled to be heard by an U.S. Administrative Law judge (unless one of the parties objects), and in cases where it is determined that Fair Housing Act laws have been violated, monetary damages may be awarded to the victims of such discrimination.
Why do we report cases like these, even those that are associated with renting a home, not buying one? Because housing discrimination affects every level of housing including those who must rent a home while looking for a house to purchase. Sometimes only the victims of Fair Housing Act violations are the ones with the power to stop future discrimination--if you don’t report the crime, it can’t be investigated by HUD.
If you have experienced housing discrimination at any stage in the housing process including renting, home loans, refinance loans, home buying, etc. don’t hesitate to file a complaint of discrimination with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777. You can also file a Fair Housing Act complaint online by visiting How to File a Complaint at the HUD official site.
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