A New Jersey condo association, billed as being an “active adult” community for homeowners 55 and older, will have to shell out $9,000 to settle allegations it prevented a man with disabilities and his wife from buying a home in which they planned to live with their grown, disabled daughter.
The Tamaron Association rejected an offer by an unidentified elderly woman and her now-late husband to purchase a home in the Waldwick, New Jersey, condominium development after learning they planned to live there with their adult daughter, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In June, HUD charged the association’s representatives with violating the Fair Housing Act, a 1968 law that prohibits denying people housing based on disability along with other factors such as race, religion, sex and familial status. The same law makes it mandatory for housing providers to make accommodations for those whose disabilities prevent them from living in a given place.
According to the charge, the association discriminated in the terms or conditions of the sale because of a disability. HUD did not release the age of the couple or information on their disabilities.
While the association’s representative denied the allegations, it agreed to settle the case to avoid a potentially lengthy and expensive lawsuit. As a result, it has agreed to pay the couple a civil penalty of $9,000, undergo fair housing training, and make changes to the association’s bylaws so that a similar situation will not occur again. At the time of the settlement, the widow was pursuing claims against the Tamaron Association in New Jersey State Court.
“Respondent denies that it violated the Act as alleged in the Charge,” the settlement order reads. “However, to avoid the additional cost and expense and uncertainty of litigation, the parties agree to settle the claims in the underlying action.”
HUD regularly investigates complaints against landlords, homeowners and resident associations. Earlier this year, it charged a New Orleans landlord with discrimination for posting a ‘NO TEENAGERS PLEASE’ ad on a Craigslist listing and ordered a Las Vegas landlord accused of refusing a disabled couple from moving into a first-floor apartment to pay $6,000.
“No family whose members have disabilities should be denied the reasonable accommodations they need to make a home for themselves,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, in a prepared statement. “Hopefully, today’s ruling will remind homeowner associations of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act and encourage them to follow the law.”