United States Files Settlement Agreement with Long Island Housing Complex for Fair Housing Act Violations
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the filing of a settlement agreement with Sunrise Villas, LLC, which owns and operates the Sunrise Villas apartment complex at Leonard Court in Lindenhurst, New York. As set forth in the United States’ complaint, which was filed simultaneously with the settlement agreement, the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of refusing to rent apartments to individuals who require the use of assistance animals. Specifically, the complaint states, on three separate occasions, Sunrise Villa’s employees, including its manager and assistant manager, told testers employed by Long Island Housing Services, Inc., that Sunrise Villas had a strict “no-pets” rule, and that the complex would not rent to individuals who required assistance animals. The complaint alleged that this conduct violated the Fair Housing Act, which requires apartment buildings to make reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities and prohibits building owners from making apartments unavailable to such persons because of their disabilities.
Under the settlement agreement, Sunrise Villas agreed that it would not refuse to rent apartments to individuals with disabilities who require assistance animals. Further, Sunrise Villas and its employees will be required to undergo mandatory education and training, will pay a civil penalty, and will reimburse Long Island Housing Services, a fair housing advocacy group located in Bohemia, New York, for its costs associated with the testing it conducted.
“Individuals with disabilities, including those who require assistance animals, are entitled to the protections of the Fair Housing Act,”stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This settlement agreement demonstrates that apartment buildings that discriminate against or fail to reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities will be held accountable.”
The government’s case is being litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Horan Florio.
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