WASHINGTON – Oct. 31, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it settled a fair housing complaint against a Nevada homeowners association (HOA) that refused to allow a resident to park an ambulance in his driveway.
The Las Vegas HOA, its management company and the owner of a rental property will pay $65,000 under a Conciliation Agreement that resolves allegations they violated the Fair Housing Act.
According to the family, it requested a variance of HOA rules that ban commercial vehicles from parking in driveways. The family said it owned the ambulance and bought it to transport their son, who has a disability, to and from medical appointments.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires housing providers, including HOAs, to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices or services to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
“Homeowners associations have the same responsibility as housing providers to follow fair housing laws,” says Bryan Greene, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
The family filed a complaint with HUD alleging that it bought an ambulance to transport its son to and from medical appointments. The son’s health issues required him to remain prone at all times, a condition they documented in a letter and submitted to the HOA and its property management company.
However, the HOA refused to allow the family to park the ambulance in their driveway, citing association rules that do not allow residents to park commercial vehicles on their properties.
Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, Harbor Cove Homeowners Association, First Columbia Community Management, Inc., and HAE Investments, LTD, will pay $65,000 to the family and establish a reasonable accommodation policy for future requests.
Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
© 2013 Florida Realtors®
Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.