BOLI Secures $75,000 in Fair Housing Case

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Landlord declined accommodation for a disabled child’s companion dog

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has concluded a settlement of unlawful discrimination charges against Fantasy Apartments (now Skylark Apartments) in Northeast Portland. BOLI’s formal charges against the owners and operators alleged that when the mother of a nine-year-old boy with depression and anxiety disorders sought to obtain a companion animal, following a doctor’s recommendation, she was told she could move to another of the respondents’ properties with her son and foster son.

The recent settlement agreement includes a $75,000 monetary payment as well as policy revisions, training for the respondents’ staff and ongoing monitoring by the state Civil Rights Division at BOLI.

“This case is a perfect example of why BOLI’s protection for housing rights is so essential to our state,” said Brad Avakian, state Labor and Industries Commissioner and head of BOLI. “This case could have easily been resolved by making a reasonable accommodation, but instead it took the pressure of a state agency investigation and formal charges to finally bring a just resolution.”

Under contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, BOLI enforces federal fair housing law and “substantially equivalent” state fair housing law, protecting access to housing free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status and disability. State law also protects sexual orientation and gender identity, source of income and marital status. In addition to investigating and prosecuting potential violations of the law, BOLI provides training to landlords and other housing professionals to promote compliance with the law before enforcement action is necessary.

“This case was ready for prosecution,” Avakian continued. “When BOLI gets ready to bring a case like this to court, it’s essential to have the formidable legal representation that the Oregon Department of Justice provides us. BOLI investigates more than 100 fair housing complaints every year from around the state, bringing tens of thousands of dollars as well as other remedies to harmed individuals.”

In similar case, the BOLI concluded a settlement of unlawful discrimination charges against Brookshore Apartments in Albany. BOLI’s charges against the property owners alleged attempts to charge a non-refundable “deposit” for allowing a woman with severe depression to keep a companion animal. The comprehensive settlement agreement includes not only a $50,000 payment, but also policy revisions, training for the respondents’ staff and ongoing monitoring by the state Civil Rights Division at BOLI.

Visit www.oregon.gov/BOLI for more information about all of BOLI’s work to protect employment rights, advance employment opportunities, and protect access to housing and public accommodations free from discrimination.

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