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PREDETERMINATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:
JERRY A. HOOTS
4200 Marcourt Lane
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Iowa Civil Rights Commission
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Description of the Parties: Complainant is a member of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission). As a member, Complainant has the authority to file a complaint alleging a discriminatory practice in violation of the “Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965,” Iowa Code Chapter 216. Complainant alleged Respondent failed to provide a reasonable accommodation by refusing to waive his
“no-pets” policy for an assistance animal and this resulted in different terms and conditions of rental and a denial of rental housing based on disability. Respondent owns or manages the subject property, four-unit apartment complex, located at 2428 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315.
A complaint having been filed by Complainant against Respondent with 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 Laws
1. Respondent agrees there shall be no discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any kind against Complainant 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. Respondent agrees 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. Respondent acknowledges 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)(a); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(a).
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)(2)(a) and 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(3)(b);
Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(b)(1) and Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(c)(2).
5. Respondent acknowledges his obligation under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws to waive his “no-pets” 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 the Fair Housing Act and cannot be subjected to pet rules, pet fees or pet deposits. Respondent acknowledged 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.
Landlords 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.
6. Respondent acknowledges Federal and State Fair Housing Laws make it unlawful to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. 42 U.S.C. 3604(c); Iowa Code § 216.8(3).
Respondent agrees to refrain from making any statement in any future residential rental ad that would indicate to ordinary readers that families with minor children are not welcome or solicited as tenants at any of his owned or managed properties.
Voluntary and Full Settlement
7. 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.
8. 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 Complainant that any claims asserted in her complaint are not fully meritorious.
9. 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.
10. Respondent agrees the Commission may review compliance with this Agreement. And as part of such review, Respondent agrees the Commission may examine witnesses, collect documents, or require written reports, all of which will be conducted in a reasonable manner by the Commission.
11. The parties agree the terms of this Agreement shall be subject to public disclosure unless Complainant and Respondent 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.
12. Complainant hereby waives, releases, and covenants not to sue Respondent 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 Respondent of the promises and representations contained herein. Complainant agrees 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 Training
13. Respondent Jerry Hoots agrees he will receive training on the requirements of State and Federal Fair Housing Laws within 90 days of his receipt of a Closing Letter from the Commission. The training will address all aspects of fair housing law, but will emphasize the law regarding how to handle requests for reasonable accommodations from individuals with a disability and the prohibition of discriminatory advertising. The training shall be conducted by a qualified person, approved by the Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Respondent also agrees to send documentation to the Commission, verifying the fair housing training has been completed, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, within ten (10) days of completing the training.
New Policy and Practice
14. 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 2 and 3), and
• Approval or Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Request
Oral requests for reasonable accommodations shall be recorded by Respondent’s employees or agents using the “Request” form, Attachment 3.
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 1.
Review of Tenant Files
15. 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 submit a written report to the Commission, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, stating: (1) the number of tenant files reviewed, (2) the name and job title of the person or persons who reviewed those files, (3) the date or dates those files were reviewed, (4) the number of errors found, and (5) the number of errors corrected. For each error, Respondent shall include in its written report to the Commission the following information:
• 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.
16. Respondent agrees they will only market the attributes of their rental properties and not reference a preferred type of tenant(s). Respondent agrees all future advertising in newspapers, pamphlets, brochures, other promotional literature, and on any Internet website will no longer state a preference for any particular type of tenant based on a personal characteristic.
After receiving a Closing Letter from the Commission, Respondent agrees to send a copy of his first advertisement to the Commission to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, within ten (10) days of distributing the advertisement.
17. For three years following the execution of this Settlement Agreement, Respondent also agrees to retain copies of all advertising in newspapers and Internet websites, pamphlets, brochures, and all other promotional literature (with the corresponding dates they were distributed).
If requested by the Commission, Respondent agrees to provide copies of all advertising in newspapers and Internet websites, pamphlets, brochures, other promotional literature, for any particular period of time within the three-year period stated above, within thirty (30) days of such request.
Jerry Hoots, RESPONDENT Date
_________ __________ ______ ______________
Mary Chapman, COMPLAINANT Date
Beth Townsend, DIRECTOR Date
IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION