Civil Rights Department Secures $40,000 Fair Housing Settlement in San Diego Disability Rights Case
July 18, 2023
For Immediate Release
Property management company to adopt new policy to support reasonable modification and accommodation requests to promote fair access to housing
SACRAMENTO – The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) today announced securing a $40,000 fair housing settlement as a result of a disability rights complaint filed with CRD by an individual complainant out of San Diego. The voluntary mediated settlement resolves allegations that Prime Asset Management, a company which reportedly manages thousands of apartment units across San Diego County, and an individual property owner failed to take adequate steps to support reasonable modifications requested by a prospective tenant with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the company and property owner commit to taking proactive steps to prevent future discrimination and provide direct relief to the individual complainant.
“Whether it’s Disability Pride Month or any time of the year, the Civil Rights Department is committed to fighting for the rights of Californians with disabilities,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “All our state’s residents deserve a chance to live full and complete lives. I’m grateful that in this case our office was able to secure a voluntary resolution that both supports the complainant and strengthens protections for future renters in San Diego. Fair access to housing is critical. Under state law, landlords must take steps to support reasonable accommodations and modifications for people with disabilities.”
In 2021, CRD received a complaint against Prime Asset Management and an individual property owner alleging the denial of reasonable modifications to make an apartment unit accessible for an individual with physical disabilities. While the company provided an estimate for potential modifications, the amount sought was allegedly for tens of thousands of dollars of work that extended beyond what was requested. In addition, the company stated that, in order to rent the apartment, the complainant needed to agree to pay for all of the work, despite the complainant’s disagreement that such work was necessary to fulfill the reasonable modification requests. Under California law, landlords are required to engage in an interactive process to determine potential modifications suited to the specific needs of individuals with disabilities who are permitted, at their own expense, to modify dwellings to ensure full enjoyment of the premises. Pursuant to its statutory authority, CRD investigated the complaint and referred the matter to its Dispute Resolution Division to determine if the parties could reach a voluntary agreement. The division operates within CRD to provide free, neutral mediation services to help parties resolve disputes and address discrimination complaints filed with CRD. Each year, the division resolves hundreds of complaints, resulting in policy changes and millions of dollars in direct relief to impacted Californians.
As part of the settlement, Prime Asset Management and the property owner have agreed to:
- Abide by all applicable fair housing laws and to not discriminate based on any protected class.
- Adopt a written organizational policy to implement a lawful procedure to respond to and process all future requests for reasonable accommodations and modifications.
- Take a fair housing training on all applicable federal and state laws within 90 days.
- Pay $40,000 to the complainant.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of discrimination, CRD may be able to assist you through its complaint process. General information about CRD’s complaint process and how to file a complaint is available here. General information regarding California’s protections against disability discrimination in housing is available here.
The case was mediated by Senior Attorney Mediator Yu-Yee Wu. The matter was also supported by Senior Counsel Azadeh Hosseinian.
A copy of the settlement is available here.
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.
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