Williams v Finest Investments, LLC

04/13/2015
Document Text Content: 

PREDETERMINATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

 

CP# 03-14-65499

HUD# 07-14-0300-8

 

PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:

 

 

RESPONDENT

 

FINEST INVESTMENTS, LLC

619 37th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50312

 

 

COMPLAINANT

 

ANGELA WILLIAMS

Commissioner

Iowa Civil Rights Commission

400 East 14th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

 

 

AND

 

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.  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 on June 19, 2013, Respondent published an advertisement for a two-bedroom apartment for rent that stated, “Great for one person or split the rent with a roommate.”   Complainant alleged such statement indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status, the presence of small children in the household.  Respondent formally owned and managed the subject property, a two-bedroom 4-plex, located at 1240 32nd Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50311. 

 

Respondent sent documentation to the Commission stating the subject property was sold effective January 22, 2014, and they no longer own or manage rental properties.  Respondent also stated that the subject apartment was ultimately rented to a couple expecting their first child. 

 

A complaint having been filed by Complainant against Respondent 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.            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 acknowledges that the Federal Fair Housing Laws Act, as amended, makes 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,, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. 42 U.S.C. 3604(c) (Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act).

 

Respondent also acknowledges that the Iowa Civil Rights Act makes 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. Iowa Code § 216.8(1)(c).

 

3.            Respondent acknowledges that the Federal Fair Housing Laws Act, as amended, makes it unlawful to refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, sublease, refuse to negotiate, or to otherwise make unavailable, or deny any real property or housing accommodation or part, portion, or interest therein, to any person based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin,, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.

 42 U.S.C. 3604(a) (Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act).

 

Respondent also acknowledges that the Iowa Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful  to refuse to sell, rent, lease, assign, sublease, refuse to negotiate, or to otherwise make unavailable, or deny any real property or housing accommodation or part, portion, or interest therein, to any person because of the race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability, or familial status of such person. Iowa Code § 216.8(1)(a).

 

 

Voluntary and Full Settlement

 

4.            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.

 

5.            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.

 

6.            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.

 

7.            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.  

 

Disclosure

 

8.            Because, pursuant to Iowa Code §216.15A(2)(d), the Commission has not determined that disclosure is not necessary to further  the purposes of  the ICRA relating to unfair or discriminatory practices in housing or real estate, this Agreement is a public record and subject to public disclosure in accordance with Iowa’s Public Records Law, Iowa Code Chapter 22.  See Iowa Code §22.13. 

Release

 

9.            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, 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

 

10.          Respondent agrees for all residential rental properties owned and managed, in the future, within thirty (30) days of purchasing a rental property and/or managing a rental property Tanya and Steve Harrington agree to receive training on the requirements of State and Federal Fair Housing Laws.   The training will address all aspects of fair housing law, but will emphasize the law regarding the prohibition discriminatory advertising, and refusal to rent due to familial status.  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, within ten (10) days of completing the training.

 

Future Advertising

 

11.          Respondent agrees they will only market the attributes of any future rental properties and not reference a preferred type of tenant(s)/occupant(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.  In addition, Respondent will not state an occupancy standard that is more restrictive than the local occupancy code or that described in the Keating Memo (“Fair Housing Enforcement—Occupancy Standards; Notice of Statement of Policy (the Keating Memo),” 42 U.S.C. 3535(d), 112 Stat. 2461), which details that an occupancy standard must be carefully examined “to determine whether it operates unreasonably to limit or exclude families with children.” 

 

Respondent acknowledges property owners, managers, and agents cannot discourage families with children from seeking or making application for available rental units by making any statement, verbal or written, that indicates families with children are not welcome or not solicited as tenants.   

 

Respondent also acknowledges families with children may not be segregated in certain buildings or properties, or in certain areas or floors of a particular complex.  Families may not be restricted because of safety concerns.  The safety of the children is the parents’ responsibility, and the parents determine whether the unit is suitable for their family.

 

The Keating Memo states that HUD believes that an occupancy policy of two persons in a bedroom, as a general rule, is reasonable under the Fair Housing Act. However, the memo also states that the reasonableness of any occupancy policy is rebuttable, and should not imply that HUD will evaluate compliance solely on the number of people permitted in each bedroom.  The memo outlines factors that HUD will consider when evaluating a housing provider's occupancy policies to determine whether actions under the provider's policies may constitute discriminatory conduct under the Fair Housing Act on the basis of familial status (the presence of children in a family). In appropriate circumstances, a housing provider may counter an occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom based on factors such as the number and size of sleeping areas or bedrooms, the overall size of the dwelling unit, the configuration of the unit (for example the presence of a den or small extra room), age of the children, sewer or other building systems, and existence of state or local laws.  The Keating Memo in its entirety can be read online at:

http://www.fairhousing.com/index.cfm?method=page.display&pagename=HUD_resources_keatingmmo

 

Relief for Complainant

 

12.          Respondent agrees to promote Fair Housing, by printing the Commission’s fair housing brochure, “Fair Housing and You,” and distributing the brochure to ten people of their choosing (i.e. family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, former tenants)on or before July 15, 2014.   Respondent agrees to access the brochure on the Commission’s website at:

/sites/default/filespublications/2013/FairHousing_English_2013.pdf

 

Respondent also agrees to send a statement to the Commission, on or before July 15, 2014, verifying that the brochure was, in fact, distributed. 

 

Reporting and Record-Keeping

 

13.          Respondent shall forward to the Commission objective evidence of the successful completion of training, in the form of a Certificate or a letter from the entity conducting the training, within ten (10) days of the completion of the training, as evidence of compliance with Term 10 of this Agreement.

 

14.          On or before July 15, 2014 Respondent will send a written statement to the Commission verifying the “Fair Housing and You,” brochures have been distributed to ten people of their choosing, as evidence of compliance with Term 15 of this Agreement

 

 

All required documentation of compliance must be submitted to:

 

Don Grove, Supervisor of Housing Investigations

Grimes State Office Building

400 East 14th Street,

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

 

 

Signatures on the Following Page (Page 6)

 

 

___________________________________________________        ______________

Finest Investments, LLC, RESPONDENT                                                  Date

 

 

 

___________________________________________________        ______________

Angela Williams, COMPLAINANT                                                                               Date

 

 

 

___________________________________________________        _____________

Beth Townsend, DIRECTOR                                                                                         Date

IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

 

 

Attachment 1

 

Reasonable Accommodation Policy for Persons with Disabilities

 

 

If a tenant or someone associated with a tenant has a disability, he/she may request a reasonable accommodation.  Accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services may be made when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

 

It is preferred that all requests for reasonable accommodations be submitted in writing to the Apartment Manager.  Forms to request reasonable accommodations are available in the rental or leasing office.  If a tenant or household member has difficulty completing the form, the Apartment Manager will assist him/her.  Oral requests for reasonable accommodations will be recorded and processed in accordance with this policy.

 

Within fourteen (14) days of receiving the request for reasonable accommodation, the Apartment Manager will notify the person making the request whether the request was granted or denied, or whether additional information is needed before a decision can be made.  If the request is denied, the Apartment Manager will include an explanation in the written notification.

 

If the request is denied, the affected tenant or household member may contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

Iowa Civil Rights Commission

400 East 14th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

515-281-4121 or 800-457-4416

 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity

400 State Avenue

Gateway Tower II

Kansas City, Kansas 66101

913-551-6958 or 800-743-5323

 

 

Attachment 2

 

Request for Reasonable Accommodation

 

If you, a member of your household, or someone associated with you has a disability, and feel that there is a need for a reasonable accommodation for that person to fully enjoy the premises or have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit or the public or common use areas, please complete this form and return it to your Apartment Manager.  Check all items that apply and explain fully.  The Apartment Manager will assist you in completing this form, and will answer this request in writing within two weeks (or sooner if the situation requires an immediate response).

 

Name of Tenant or Applicant:  __________________________

Today’s Date:  ________________

 

Signature of Tenant or Applicant:  __________________________

 

 

The person who has a disability requiring a reasonable accommodation is: 

Me

A person associated or living with me

 

Name of person with disability:  __________________________

Address:  ___________________________________________________

Telephone:  ________________

 

 

I am requesting the following change(s) in rule, policy, or practices so that I and persons associated or living with me can live here with equal opportunity to use and enjoy the premises. 

 

I need the following change(s):

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

I need this reasonable accommodation because:

 

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

__________________________           ________________

Requester                                                           Date

 

__________________________           ________________

Apartment Manager                                      Date

 

 

To be completed by Applicant’s health care provider if the disability-related need for the assistance animal is not readily apparent to or already known by the Landlord

 

Does the Applicant have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?  Yes _____     No _____ 

 

Is an assistance animal required to work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services to relieve the Applicant’s physical or mental impairment, or to provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the Applicant’s existing physical or mental impairment?  Yes _____     No _____

 

If you answered “yes” please explain what disability-related assistance or emotional support the assistance animal provides to alleviate one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability.  If the disability is not obvious, housing providers may request that a health care provider verify the disability.  Health care providers are not required to provide descriptive details about the disability or the specific diagnosis. 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                               

               

__________________________           ________________

Health Care Provider                                      Date     

 

Attachment 3

 

 

Request for Reasonable Accommodation

 

 

[To be completed by Apartment Manager if Requester cannot or will not complete written form.]

 

 

On ________________, the undersigned Tenant or Applicant orally requested a reasonable accommodation.  He/she requested the following change(s) in rule, policy or practices:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Signature of Tenant or Applicant:  __________________________

 

Name of Tenant or Applicant:  __________________________

Address: __________________________________________________

Date:  ________________

 

 

 

I, the undersigned, Apartment Manager of ________________ Apartments:

 

Gave the Tenant or Applicant the form, “Request for Reasonable Accommodation” and offered to assist in completing the form.

Granted the request.

Explained the request could not be evaluated until the following additional information is provided.

 

__________________________           ________________

Apartment Manager                                      Date

 

 

Attachment 4

 

Approval or Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Request

 

 

Dear: _______________________

Address: ___________________________________________________

 

 

On ________________, you requested the following reasonable accommodation:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

We have reviewed your request and we have decided:

 

To approve your request.  We will make the following change(s) in rule, policy or practices:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Date change(s) will be made: _______________________

 

To deny your request.  We denied your request because:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

In making this denial decision, we relied on information provided by the following people or documents:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

To seek further information from you about your request.  We cannot approve or deny your request without additional information or documentation.  Please provide:

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

 

 

__________________________           ________________

Apartment Manager                                      Date