DFEH Settles Disability Discrimination Case Against Bay Area Property Owner and Management Company
July 16, 2018
For Immediate Release
Prospective Tenant Experienced Homelessness after She Was Denied an Accommodation to the Property’s No-Pets Policy for Her Service Animal
Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in a disability discrimination case against property owner Yi Fang, property management company Tangent Real Estate, and property manager David Dai (collectively “respondents”). The complainant, a prospective tenant, alleged an offer to rent was abruptly withdrawn when the respondents learned she has a service animal.
According to the March 28, 2017 complaint filed with the DFEH, the complainant toured the property with the property manager and the owner agreed to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program for the complainant. An offer to rent was extended to the complainant and she was provided with a rental application. However, upon learning the complainant has a dog, the property manager called the complainant citing the property’s no-pets policy. Although the complainant explained that her dog is a service animal and provided supporting documentation, the property manager and owner refused to accommodate her by waiving the property’s no-pets policy. As a result, the complainant was homeless for approximately one and a half months as she searched for alternative housing.
Based on its investigation, DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unruh Civil Rights Act occurred and referred the case to DFEH’s Dispute Resolution Division, which provides no-cost mandatory dispute resolution services in cases DFEH intends to prosecute in court, where the case settled. Pursuant to the settlement, the complainant will receive $36,000. The property owner, management company, and property manager must undergo fair housing training; develop, implement, and distribute a written anti-discrimination policy and a written policy specific to reasonable accommodation requests; post DFEH fair housing posters in all rental properties they own and/or manage in California; and advertise themselves as equal opportunity housing providers.
“In order for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy rental housing, they may require the assistance of a service animal, which is not a pet. Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including waiving no-pets policies for service animals,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish.
Staff Counsel Jeanette Hawn and Civil Rights Fellow Catherine Habash represented DFEH.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.