Blind World Magazine

Attorney General and apartment owners reach settlements in fairhousing lawsuits.

January 5, 2006.
Phoenix Business Journal - Phoenix,AZ,USA.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has reached settlements in two fair housing lawsuits filed against Bosley Management Inc. and Show Low Apartments LP.

Both companies were accused of denying residents the right to live with therapeutic animals because of their "no pets" policy at a federally subsidized apartment complex in Show Low.

Therapeutic animals differ from service animals (such as seeing eye and hearing ear dogs) in that the "work" the animals perform is to provide comfort that diminishes the effects of emotional, mental or physical disabilities.

The suits alleged that the management company, owner and manager of the apartment complex in Show Low discriminated against a current resident and a former resident by refusing to grant their requests to allow the boarding of therapeutic animals. The companies claimed this was a violation of their "no pets" policy.

Under the terms of the consent decrees, the defendants agreed to pay the AG's Civil Rights Division $100,000, one of its disabled residents $65,000 and a former disabled resident $12,000.

The payments represent the largest settlement obtained by the division in a matter involving disability discrimination under the Arizona Fair Housing Act.

The defendants also agreed to extensive monitoring and injunctive relief.

The Arizona Fair Housing Act requires that a landlord "make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if the accommodations may be necessary to afford the person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling." According to Goddard, such reasonable accommodations include making a limited exception to a "no pets" rule for disabled persons who need assistive animals, including service animals and therapeutic animals.

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