- About Us
- Case Reports
- Your Rights
- File A Complaint
- Contact Us
PREDETERMINATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:
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 Respondents failed to provide a reasonable accommodation by refusing to waive their “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. Respondents own or manage the subject property, a duplex, located at REDACTED.
A complaint having been filed by Complainant against Respondents 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. Respondents agree 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. The parties acknowledge Federal and State Fair Housing laws make it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the dwelling because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status, in violation of Iowa Code Chapter 216.
3. The parties 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)(a); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(a)(1).
4. The parties acknowledge 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); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(c)(2).
5. The parties acknowledge Federal and State Fair Housing Laws make it unlawful
to discriminate against another person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with the dwelling because of a disability.
42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(2)(a) and Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(b)(1)
6. Respondents acknowledge their obligation under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws to allow assistance animals 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, emotional support animals, or companion animals are not considered pets under the Fair Housing Act and cannot be subjected to pet rules, pet fees or pet deposits.
Respondents acknowledge that allowing a service animal or emotional support animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation if the animal is needed to assist an individual with a disability as required by law. Under State and Federal Fair Housing Laws, an assistance animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation 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.
Respondents acknowledge they will consider each tenant or prospective tenant’s situation and accommodation request individually to determine if the requested accommodation is reasonable. The parties acknowledge that if the disability is not known or obvious, Respondents may make a reasonable inquiry and request documentation from a health care provider that verifies the tenant/prospective tenant’s disability, without seeking or collecting information regarding the nature of the disability. In addition, Respondents may make reasonable inquiry and request documentation from a health care provider that verifies the tenant/prospective tenant’s need for the accommodation i.e. the relationship between the person’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation.
The parties agree a housing provider can deny a request for a reasonable accommodation where authorized by law, including, but not limited to: if there is no disability-related need for the accommodation; if the request for the reasonable accommodation would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the Respondent; or if the request fundamentally alters the nature of Respondent’s operations.
According to the “Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act,” May 14, 2004, “The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the provider, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester's disability-related needs.”
Voluntary and Full Settlement
7. The parties acknowledge this Predetermination Settlement 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. 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.
11. The parties agree the Commission may disclose the terms of this Agreement so long as the Commission does not disclose the identities of Respondents.
12. Complainant hereby waives, releases, and covenants 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, subject to performance by Respondents 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. Respondents agree REDACTED will receive training on the requirements of State and Federal Fair Housing Laws within 90 days of their 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. The training shall be conducted by a qualified person, approved by the Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Respondents also agree 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, Respondents agree, 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:
Respondents shall inform all applicants and occupants that they may request reasonable accommodations of Respondents’ rules, policies, practices, and services. Prior to lease execution, if prospective residents inquire about reasonable accommodations, Respondents shall inform them of their ability to seek reasonable accommodations.
Respondents 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 Respondents’ employees or agents using the “Request” form, Attachment 3.
Respondents 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, Respondents 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. Respondents agree 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, Respondents 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, Respondents 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, Respondents 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.
Relief for Complainant
16. Respondents agree to promote Fair Housing by notifying all their current tenants that 2013 is the 45th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, by printing a full-color flyer and distributing the flyer to each of their tenants on or before July 31, 2013. The flyer will be a minimum size of 8.5” x 11” and Respondents agree to access the flyer online at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=nfha_hud_12_en_chalkflag.pdf
Prior to the printing the flyers, Respondents agree to add the following contact information for the Commission to the flyer directly below the contact information for HUD or at the bottom of the flyer:
Or Contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at 515-281-4121 or
Toll Free at 1-800-457-4416 or online at http://www.state.ia.us/government/crc/
Respondents also agree to send a copy of the flyer distributed to tenants to the Commission, verifying the fair housing flyers have been distributed with a list of the address for each property with the number of rental units at each property that received the flyer, to the attention of Don Grove, Supervisor of Investigations, within ten (10) days of distributing the flyer.
REDACTED, RESPONDENT Date
REDACTED, RESPONDENT Date
Mary Chapman, COMPLAINANT Date
Beth Townsend, DIRECTOR Date
IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION