Boyer v 101 16th Avenue NW Residential Cooperative Inc

01/12/2015
Document Text Content: 

PREDETERMINATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

 

 

CP# 08-12-62951

HUD# 07-12-0759-8

 

 

PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:

 

 

 

RESPONDENTS

 

101 16TH AVENUE NW RESIDENTIAL COOPERATIVE, INC.

609 1st Street West

Independence, Iowa 50644

 

JIM HUGHES

609 1st Street West

Independence, Iowa 50644

 

 

 

COMPLAINANTS

 

IVAN AND LONDA BOYER

200 9th Avenue NW Apartment 2

Independence, Iowa 50644

 

AND

 

IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

400 East 14th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

 

 

 

Description of the Parties: 

Complainants alleged Respondents discriminated against them by refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation by refusing to waive their “no-dogs” policy for a companion dog, resulting in different terms and conditions of rental and a denial of rental housing based on disability.  Respondents own or manage the subject property, a 32-unit apartment complex, located at 101 16th Avenue NW, Independence, IA 50644.      

 

 

A complaint having been filed by Complainants against Respondents with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (hereafter referred to as the Commission) under Iowa Code Chapter 216 and there having been a preliminary inquiry, the parties do hereby agree and settle the above-captioned matter in the following extent and manner:

 

Acknowledgment of Fair Housing Law

 

1.            Respondents agree there shall be no discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any kind against Complainants or any other person for filing a charge under Iowa Code Chapter 216; or because of giving testimony or assistance, or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under Iowa Code Chapter 216; or because of lawful opposition to any practice forbidden under Iowa Code Chapter 216.

 

2.            Respondents agree to refrain from committing any act of discrimination in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status, in violation of Iowa Code Chapter 216.

 

3.            Respondents acknowledge Federal and State Fair Housing Laws make it unlawful to discriminate in the sale or rental or otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of a disability. 

42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(1); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(a)(3).

 

4.            Respondent acknowledges Federal and State Fair Housing Laws make it               unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when the accommodations are necessary to afford the person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

                    42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(3)(b) and Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(c)(2).

 

5.            Respondent acknowledges their obligation under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws to waive their “no pets” policy and “pet deposit” policy as a reasonable accommodation when necessary to permit an individual with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.  Assistance animals categorized as either service animals or emotional support animals are not considered pets under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws and cannot be subjected to pet rules, pet fees or pet deposits.  Respondent acknowledges waiving a “no pets” policy for a service animal or emotional support animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation if the animal is needed to assist an individual with a disability. 

 

Under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws, waiving a “no pets” policy qualifies as a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal if the animal provides assistance or performs tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, such as guiding visually impaired individuals, alerting hearing impaired individuals to sounds and noises, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, seeking and retrieving items, alerting individuals to impending seizures, and providing emotional support to persons who have a disability and a need for such support.  

 

Housing Providers cannot restrict the type of dog, size or weight of assistance animals and cannot require special tags, equipment, certification or special identification of assistance animals.   

 

Voluntary and Full Settlement

 

6.            The parties acknowledge this Agreement is a voluntary and full settlement of the disputed complaint.  The parties affirm they have read and fully understand the terms set forth herein.  No party has been coerced, intimidated, threatened or in any way forced to become a party to this Agreement.

 

7.            The parties enter into this Agreement in a good faith effort to amicably resolve existing disputes.  The execution of this Agreement is not an admission of any wrongdoing or violation of law.  Nor is the execution of this Agreement an admission by Complainants that any claims asserted in their complaint are not fully meritorious.

 

8.            The parties agree the execution of this Agreement may be accomplished by separate counterpart executions of this Agreement.  The parties agree the original executed signature pages will be attached to the body of this Agreement to constitute one document.

 

9.            Respondents agree the Commission may review compliance with this Agreement.  And as part of such review, Respondents agree the Commission may examine witnesses, collect documents, or require written reports, all of which will be conducted in a reasonable manner by the Commission.  

 

Disclosure

 

10.          The parties agree the terms of this Agreement shall be subject to public disclosure unless Complainants and Respondents agree otherwise, and the Commission determines that disclosure is not necessary to further the purposes of Iowa Code Chapter 216 relating to unfair or discriminatory practices in housing or real estate.

 

Release

 

11.          Complainants hereby waive, release, and covenant not to sue Respondents with respect to any matters which were, or might have been alleged as charges filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, or any other anti-discrimination agency, and with regard to any and all other matters, subject to performance by Respondents of the promises and representations contained herein. Complainants agree any complaint filed with any other anti-discrimination agency, including the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development, which involves the issues in this complaint, shall be closed as Satisfactorily Adjusted.

 

Fair Housing Poster

 

12.          Respondents agree to place the federal Fair Housing Poster (English and Spanish) in each of their rental or leasing offices in a conspicuous location, easily viewable to tenants and prospective tenants.

 

Respondents also agree to send documentation to the Commission, verifying the posters have been placed, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, within ten (l0) days of receiving a Closing Letter from the Commission.

 

New Policy and Practice

 

13.          For all residential rental properties owned and managed, now and in the future, Respondent agrees, within thirty (30) days of the execution of this Settlement Agreement, to adopt and implement specific, uniform, and objective written standards and procedures for receiving and handling requests made by people with disabilities for reasonable accommodation.  These standards shall comply with the requirements of Iowa Code Chapter 216 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., and include the following provisions:

 

Respondent shall inform all applicants and occupants that they may request reasonable accommodations of Respondent’s rules, policies, practices, and services.  Prior to lease execution, if prospective residents inquire about reasonable accommodations, Respondent shall inform them of their ability to seek reasonable accommodations. 

 

Respondent shall use the following forms:

 

             Request for Reasonable Accommodation (Attachments 1 and 2), and

             Approval or Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Request

(Attachment 3)

 

Oral requests for reasonable accommodations shall be recorded by          Respondent’s employees or agents using the “Request” form, Attachment 2.

 

Respondent shall keep written records of each request for reasonable accommodation.  These records shall include:

 

             Name, address, and telephone number of the person making the request;

             Date request received;

             Nature of request;

             Whether request granted or denied; and

             If denied, reason(s) for the denial.

 

Upon adopting specific, uniform, and objective written standards and procedures for receiving and handling requests made by people with disabilities for reasonable accommodations, Respondent shall provide written notice of those standards and procedures to each current and future resident who has requested an accommodation, in a form substantially equivalent to Attachment 4.

 

Review of Tenant Files

 

14.          Respondent agrees to review all current tenant files to determine whether their employees or agents appropriately handled past requests for reasonable accommodations in accordance with the requirements of Iowa Code Chapter 216 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.  If errors were made in the handling of past requests for reasonable accommodations, Respondent shall promptly correct those errors by notifying the affected residents, granting the requests for reasonable accommodations, and refunding any monies unlawfully collected for pet fees or deposits. 

 

Within ninety (90) days of the execution of this Settlement Agreement, Respondent shall report all errors to the Commission, as well as all actions taken to correct those errors, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations.  For each error, Respondent shall provide:

 

             Name, address, and telephone number of affected resident;

             Date of request for reasonable accommodation;

             Nature of request;

             Date affected resident notified of error; and

             Nature of action taken to correct error.

 

Relief for Complainants

 

15.          Respondent agree to pay Complainants $2,000.00, less no deductions.   Respondents agree to send the check to Complainants at the above address within seven (7) days of Respondents’ receipt of a Closing Letter from the Commission.  The check will be made out to Ivan and Londa Boyer.  Respondents also agree to send a copy of the check to the Commission, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, within seven (7) days of Respondents’ receipt of a Closing Letter from the Commission.

 

Signatures on the Following Page (Page 5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

___________________________________________________        _____________

101 16th Avenue NW Residential Cooperative, Inc.

RESPONDENT                                                                                                    Date

 

 

___________________________________________________        _____________

Jim Hughes, RESPONDENT                                                                                           Date

 

 

___________________________________________________        ______________

Ivan Boyer, COMPLAINANT                                                                         Date

 

 

___________________________________________________        ______________

Londa Boyer, COMPLAINANT                                                                     Date

 

 

___________________________________________________        _____________

Beth Townsend, DIRECTOR                                                                                         Date

IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

 

 

Total Value of Agreement is $2,000