Williams v RKN Properties LLC

12/02/2015
Document Text Content: 

 

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PREDETERMINATION SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

CP# 06-15-67595

HUD# 07-15-0495-8

PARTIES TO THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:

RESPONDENTS

RKN PROPERTIES, LLC

2011 North B Street

Fairfield, Iowa 52556

RANDY K. NITE

2011 North B Street

Fairfield, Iowa 52556

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 (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 on April 10, 2015, by refusing to waive their "no-pets" policy for an assistance animal; and this resulted in different terms, conditions or privileges of rental, as well as a denial of rental housing based on disability.

On the date of incident, Respondents owned or managed the subject property, a two-bedroom duplex, located at 411 B Street, Fairfield, Iowa 52556. Based on information provided by Respondent Randy K. Nite and verified by the Commission, Respondents sold the subject property on June 30, 2015, and currently do not own or manage any residential rental properties. 2

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 the "Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965" (ICRA); or because of giving testimony or assistance, or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under the ICRA; or because of lawful opposition to any practice forbidden by the ICRA. Iowa Code § 216.11(2).

2. Respondents acknowledge the ICRA makes 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. Iowa Code § 216.8(1)(b).

Respondents acknowledge the Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. 42 U.S.C. 3604(b) (§ 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act).

3. Respondents acknowledge the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the ICRA 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) (§ 804(f)(1) of the Fair Housing Act);

Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(a)(1).

4. Respondents acknowledge the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and ICRA 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 and to the extent that the accommodation does not cause undue financial or administrative burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations.

42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(3)(b) (§ 804(f)(3)(b) of the Fair Housing Act);

Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(c)(2).

5. Respondents acknowledge the FHA and ICRA 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) (§ 804(f)(2)(a) of the Fair Housing Act); Iowa Code § 216.8A(3)(b)(1). 3

 

6. Respondents acknowledge their obligation under the FHA and ICRA 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 (service animals, emotional support animals, therapy animals, companion animals or support animals) are not considered pets under the FHA and ICRA and cannot, therefore, be subjected to pet fees or pet deposits.

Respondents acknowledge that allowing an assistance animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation if the animal is needed to assist an individual with a disability as required by law. Under the FHA and ICRA, an assistance animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation if the animal works, provides assistance or performs tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Some examples of work provided by service animals includes but is not limited to: guiding visually impaired individuals, alerting hearing impaired individuals to sounds and noises, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, seeking and retrieving items, or alerting individuals to impending seizures.

Housing providers cannot restrict the type of dog, size or weight of assistance animals 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 or prospective tenant’s need for the accommodation, i.e., the relationship between the person’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation.

Respondents acknowledge a housing provider may deny a request for a reasonable accommodation if it would impose an "undue financial and administrative burden" or it would "fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations." "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." Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act, May 17, 2004. 4

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.

Disclosure

11. Because, pursuant to Iowa Code § 216.15A(2)(d), 42 U.S.C. 3610(b)(4), and 24 CFR 103.330(b), 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

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.

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Fair Housing Training

13. Within thirty (30) days of purchasing a rental property and/or managing a rental property, Respondents agree Respondent Randy K. Nite will 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 how to handle requests for reasonable accommodations from individuals with disabilities. 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, within ten (10) days of completing the training.

New Policy and Practice

14. Respondents provided information to the Commission that they sold the subject property and they no longer own or manage rental properties. For all residential rental properties owned and managed, in the future, Respondents agree, within thirty (30) days of purchasing a rental property and/or managing a rental property 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 agree within thirty (30) days of purchasing a rental property and/or managing a rental property to send documentation to the Commission detailing Respondents’ said procedures with a copy of their reasonable accommodation policy and applicable forms.

Respondents shall inform all future applicants and future 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 adopt a Reasonable Accommodation Policy for Persons with Disabilities in a form substantially equivalent to Attachment 1. 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, procedures and forms to each current and future resident who has requested an accommodation. 6

Respondents shall use the following forms:

• Request for Reasonable Accommodation (Attachment 2), or

• Oral requests for reasonable accommodations shall be recorded by Respondents’ employees or agents using the "Request" form,

(Attachment 3)

• Approval or Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Request

(Attachment 4)

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.

Relief for Complainant

15. Respondents agree to promote Fair Housing, by printing the Commission’s fair housing brochure, "Fair Housing and You," and sending the brochure by mail or email to each of their former tenants who resided at any of their residential rental properties since January 1, 2014. Respondents agreed to send the brochure to those former tenants on or before September 30, 2015. Respondents agree to access the brochure on the Commission’s website at:

https://icrc.iowa.gov/sites/files/civil_rights/publications/2013/FairHousing_English_2013.pdf

Respondents also agree to send a statement signed by Respondent Randy K. Nite to the Commission, on or before August 31, 2015, declaring that the brochure was, in fact, sent to each of their former tenants.

Reporting and Record-Keeping

16. Respondents shall forward to the Commission objective evidence of the successful completion of fair housing 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 13 of this

Agreement.

17. Within thirty (30) days of purchasing a rental property and/or managing a rental property Respondents agree to send documentation to the Commission detailing Respondents’ said procedures with a copy of their reasonable accommodation policy and applicable forms as objective evidence that Respondents have adopted and implemented specific, uniform, and objective written standards, procedures and said forms for receiving and handling requests made by people with disabilities for reasonable accommodation, as evidence of compliance with Term 14 of this Agreement.

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18. On or before September 30, 2015, Respondents shall send a written statement to the Commission verifying the "Fair Housing and You" brochure has been distributed to all of their former tenants, 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

__________________________________________________ _____________

RKN Properties, LLC, RESPONDENT Date

__________________________________________________ _____________

Randy K. Nite, RESPONDENT Date

_________ __________ ______ ______________

Angela Williams, COMPLAINANT Date

___________________________________________________ _____________

Kristin Johnson, Executive Director Date

IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION