Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley today announced that U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante has approved a consent decree resolving allegations that John J. Flatley, d / b / a John J. Flatley Company (Flatley ), and a property manager employed by Flatley, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
In a complaint filed in April 2021, the United States alleged that Flatley discriminated against a tenant at its apartment complex in Nashua by refusing to allow reasonable accommodation of the tenant’s disability when the tenant was looking for an emotional support animal, a dog named Molly.
The tenant, who suffered from anxiety and depression, used Molly as an emotional support animal. After the tenant requested permission to have an emotional support animal in the apartment, Flatley and the property manager agreed to allow the tenant to have an emotional support animal, but not a dog. The complaint alleged that Flatley would not allow tenants to have dogs as emotional support animals.
The United States and Flatley accepted the entry of a consent decree, which Justice Laplante approved on December 27, 2021. The consent decree resolved allegations in the government complaint. Without admitting responsibility, Flatley agreed to pay the tenant $ 35,000, adopt reasonable accommodation policies for their FHA-compliant New Hampshire residential properties, and take FHA training.
“Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities,” Acting US Attorney Farley said. âWe are delighted that the company has agreed to resolve this issue and is now putting in place policies and conducting training so that people with disabilities have equal housing opportunities. As this case shows, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the rights of people with disabilities with disabilities and will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws in Granite State. “
âProtecting the rights of individuals and families when their rights to equitable housing are violated is at the heart of HUD’s mission,â said Demetria L. McCain, HUD Senior Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity . âHUD commends the Department of Justice for reaching this settlement and for pursuing allegations of violations of the right to housing. “
This lawsuit follows an administrative complaint filed by the tenant with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After investigation, HUD determined that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the FHA had been violated. The tenant has elected, in accordance with the FHA, to have HUD’s decision resolved in federal court.
The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, family status, national origin and disability. People who believe they have experienced housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Department of Justice at [email protected], or contact HUD at 1- 800-669-9777.
The case was handled by US Deputy Prosecutor Raphael Katz.
This story was originally published by InDepth NH.