United States v. NALS Apartment Homes (D. Utah)

Overview: 

On September 28, 2016, the court entered a consent order in United States v. NALS Apartment Homes, LLC (D. Utah). The Fair Housing Act election complaint, which was filed on September 26, 2016, alleged that the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by denying the reasonable accommodation requests of certain tenants with disabilities who sought to live with their assistance animals. The defendants, located in the Salt Lake City area, include the property management company NALS Apartment Homes; the owners of Pinnacle Highland Apartments, Cobble Creek Apartments and Sky Harbor Apartments; and the former owners of Thornhill Park Apartments. The United States’ complaint alleges that the defendants required certain tenants with disabilities who sought to live with an assistance animal to have a healthcare provider complete a “prescription form” suggesting that the healthcare provider may be held responsible for any property damage or physical injury that the assistance animal may cause.  The defendants did not require tenants without disabilities who had pets to have a third party assume liability for their animals.  Under the terms of the consent order the defendants are required to pay $20,000 to a former tenant and her seven-year-old son with autism who were denied permission to keep the child’s assistance animal after the child’s doctor refused to sign a form suggesting he could be liable for damages caused by the animal.  The defendants are also required to pay $25,000 to establish a settlement fund to compensate any additional individuals who were harmed by their conduct.  The settlement also prohibits the defendants from engaging in future discrimination and requires them to establish a non-discriminatory reasonable accommodation policy, use non-discriminatory reasonable accommodation application forms and have the relevant employees participate in fair-housing training. The case was referred to the Division after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received complaints from both former tenants and Utah’s Disability Law Center (DLC), conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination.

 

Case Open Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2016
Case Name: 
United States v. NALS Apartment Homes (D. Utah)
Topic: 
Civil Rights
Tags: 
Fair Housing Act
FHA
disability
reasonable accommodation
Pinnacle Highland Apartments
Cobble Creek Apartments
Sky Harbor Apartments
Thornhill Park Apartments
assistance animal
dog
apartment
hud election
pattern or practice
testing
health care provider
liability
Utah’s Disability Law Center
DLC
Salt Lake City
2:16-cv-01005-BSJ
Industry Code: 
None
Component: 
Civil Rights - Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Updated October 14, 2016