Durham’s Human Relations Division Accepts Disability-Based Complaint
The Human Relations Division accepted a complaint based on a landlord’s alleged discriminatory treatment of a person with a disability. The disability affects the resident’s ability to use her arms and her legs. As such, she uses a wheelchair. When the resident requested permission to install a ramp outside of her dwelling and grab bars within her dwelling, the landlord allegedly refused even though the resident agreed to cover the cost to install these elements of accessibility.
It is a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Ordinance of the City of Durham to deny a reasonable modification to a tenant with a disability. A reasonable modification is a structural change to a dwelling that is necessary to allow the disabled tenant the ability to use and enjoy the dwelling. Unlike reasonable accommodations which are policy/procedural changes, tenants requesting a modification are responsible for the cost associated with the modification.
Housing discrimination is against the law. If the Human Relations Division discovers evidence that the landlord failed to permit the tenant’s modification request, the landlord could be held liable for punitive damages.
Contact the Human Relations Division at DurhamFairHousing.com or 919-560-1647 for more information about your right to fair housing.