Concord Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley announced today that U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante has approved a consent decree resolving allegations that John J. Flatley, violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
In a complaint filed in April of 2021, the United States alleged that Flatley discriminated against a tenant at its Nashua apartment complex by refusing to allow reasonable accommodations for a tenant’s disability when the tenant sought an emotional support animal, a dog named Molly. The tenant, who suffered from anxiety and depression, used Molly as an emotional support animal. After the tenant requested permission to have an emotional support animal in the apartment, Flatley and the property manager agreed to allow the tenant to have an emotional support animal, but not a dog. The complaint alleged that Flatley would not allow tenants to raise dogs as emotional support animals.
The United States and Flatley agreed to enter the consent decree, which Judge Laplante approved on December 27, 2021. The consent decree resolved the allegations in the government’s complaint. Without admitting liability, Flatley agreed to pay the tenant $35,000, enact reasonable accommodation policies for her FHA-compliant New Hampshire residential property, and complete FHA training.
“Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities,” Acting US Attorney Farley said. “We are pleased that the company agreed to solve this problem and is now in the process of developing policies and conducting training so that individuals with disabilities are given equal housing opportunities. As this case demonstrates, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and will vigorously enforce Granite’s federal civil rights laws.”
“Protecting the rights of individuals and families when their rights to fair housing are violated is fundamental to HUD’s mission,” said Demetria L. McCain, Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD. “HUD commends the Department of Justice for reaching this settlement and pursuing allegations of fair housing violations.”
This lawsuit arose from an administrative complaint that the tenant filed with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Upon investigation, HUD determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the FHA had been violated. The tenant elected, in accordance with FHA law, to have the HUD decision resolved in federal court.
The Federal Housing Administration Act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, and disability. Individuals who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Guidance Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Department of Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org or call HUD at 1-800-669- 9777.
The case was handled by Assistant US Attorney Rafael Katz.