top of page
Search

HRC and Mental Health Advocacy Services Resolve a Case of Disability Discrimination in Los Angeles

Updated: Jun 27, 2022


The owner and property manager of an apartment in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles have agreed to resolve a lawsuit involving claims of discrimination filed by the Housing Rights Center (HRC) and Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS) on behalf of a tenant with mental health disabilities who needs an assistance animal. The defendants agreed to adopt policies and practices that will enhance equal opportunities in housing for persons with disabilities, including adopting a written policy addressing reasonable accommodation and modification requests and attending comprehensive fair housing training.

The plaintiff brought suit in federal court in the fall of 2020 for discrimination on the basis of disability. After the plaintiff experienced debilitating symptoms of multiple severe disabilities, her doctor prescribed an assistance animal to aid in the mitigation of her symptoms, maintain her independence of living, and support her continued use and enjoyment of her housing. The plaintiff, and HRC on her behalf, made several requests to the owner and property manager of the apartment building to allow her to have the assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation of her disability.


Rodney Leggett, Staff Attorney at HRC, commented, “It is unacceptable and illegal for housing providers to discriminate against tenants with mental health disabilities. Landlords have a legal and moral responsibility to engage in a good faith interactive process to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to housing opportunities.”

Naomi Sultan, Supervising Attorney at MHAS, stated, “It is well established that landlords must provide reasonable accommodations for people with mental health disabilities who need emotional support animals. Refusing to permit emotional support animals and retaliating against tenants who request them is an illegal and unsustainable business practice.”

Ultimately, HRC and MHAS negotiated on the plaintiff’s behalf with the defendants for a successful resolution. The defendants agreed to pay the plaintiff $120,000 for damages, litigation costs, and attorneys’ fees. The defendants have also agreed to adopt a written policy addressing reasonable accommodation and modification requests, comprehensive fair housing training focused on providing equal access to persons who have disabilities, to place and maintain English and Spanish versions of the HUD fair housing poster at the apartment building, and to ensure that all advertisements for rentals comply with HUD’s fair housing advertisement guidelines.


The plaintiff was represented by Rodney Leggett, Zachary Frederick, and Javier Beltran of HRC, the nation’s largest nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to securing and promoting fair housing; and Naomi Sultan and Ilana Lohr-Schmidt of MHAS, a nonprofit organization established in 1977 to provide free legal services to people with mental disabilities.


This material is based on work supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under FHIP Grant #FPEI20062. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of HUD.

1,127 views5 comments

5 Comments


David Figueroa
David Figueroa
May 30, 2023

I get grandma seizures and my landlord threw us out of are place with not telling use anything just the1 2 3 move out or pay I hot 3 seizures the next day what can I do

Like

L V
L V
Nov 21, 2022

I have been discharged for being LGBTQ and not just me all so my son as well I'm a domestic violence Survivor .i all so have really bad high anxiety and I have mentioned to transitional housing case manager in regards to having an emotional support dog which I've had in the past and they keep denying it to her sorry you can't and there's no way we could help you if you were to get one you automatically be kicked out of the program and not only that but feeling and being looked down on because I'm LGBTQ and just because oh my sexual preference it's always no no no string me along and then get to know. To…

Like
Replying to

Thank you for reaching out. We would like to have a dedicated and confidential conversation about this. Could you please reach out to our housing counselors directly at info@housingrightscenter.org or 1-877-477-5977? We cannot continue this conversation on our public website.

Like

Unknown member
Jun 20, 2022

I'm being discriminated against. Calling me monkeys(I have text message to prove it) unwanted touching farting in my face while I'm eating subjecting me to what they call the "circle game" grabbing their crouch at me and trying to draw me into lascivious conversations about teenage girls—consistently placing trash and perverted signs where I dwell. I'm sick of it and I need help I have nowhere to go and I don't know what to do this place continuously subjects me to demeaning cruel mental stress while I'm attending school. I have 2 weeks left in my course and they threatened to kick me out on fathers day because I repeated words a phase that's continuously being said In my presence.…

Like
Replying to

Thank you for reaching out. Apologies, I am not sure why we did not receive this notification when you posted. However, we would still like to have a dedicated and confidential conversation about this. Could you please reach out to our housing counselors directly at info@housingrightscenter.org or 1-877-477-5977? We cannot continue this conversation on our public website.


Like
bottom of page