Tenants with pets allege retaliatory eviction
Two tenants of the same apartment building alleged they were evicted from their apartments in retaliation for complaining numerous times about problems in the building. One of the tenants, a right leg amputee, also alleged that he was discriminated against because of his disability. The Insured maintained that they evicted the tenants for having pets in their units, in violation of their leases. The tenants’ lawsuit sought damages in compensation for the retaliatory eviction and the discrimination. Mediation failed. When the smoke cleared, some $238,000 had to be expended to cover the final settlement.
Tenants receiving housing assistance sue their property manager
The Insured owned/managed a location where tenants received Section 8 housing assistance. When the time came to renew the applications for the assistance, the Insured allegedly changed the way in which it instructed tenants to report their income. Several tenants did not receive aid the following year, as a result of following the Insured’s instructions. Multiple HUD complaints were filed by the affected tenants, and HUD became involved in the pursuit of the Insured, alleging discrimination against those receiving housing assistance. It took $70,000 in insurance to clear up this mess.
Disabled patrons find mall is inaccessible for them
Claimant was a patron of the Insured shopping mall. He enlisted the help of a not-for-profit corporation that assures places of public accommodation are accessible to and usable by the disabled, and that its members are not discriminated against because of their disabilities. This case resulted in a total payment of $27,500 of settlement and legal fees.
Residential tenant sues after property manager prevents him from operating a business
A tenant in the Insured’s residential apartment building was operating a beauty salon in his second bedroom. The property manager warned him to stop but he continued. The property manager took pictures of the premises (including the scissors and barber’s chair). The tenant then sued for invasion of privacy, retaliatory eviction, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and battery. The court-ordered mediation required $44,000 all-in-all to settle the matter.
Ladies’ night leads to suit against an Insured
A party at an Insured location included a cover charge/admission fee for men but entry for women was free because it was a “ladies’ night” event. The men in attendance filed a class action lawsuit alleging discrimination against them on the basis of gender. The matter was easily settled for $11,000.
Disabled Residents File Charges with HUD
Five disabled residents of a Section 8 apartment complex filed charges with HUD alleging disability, age and sex discrimination. The primary spokesperson for the group is a “40-something” year old female amputee who rides a scooter due to her disability and her weight (± 300 lbs). All five women claim that they have been verbally and physically harassed because of their disabilities (visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, epilepsy) by other tenants and by management; that they are discriminated against because of their age (they are younger than the predominantly elderly population of the apartment complex); and several allege that they have been sexually harassed by other tenants but that management refuses investigate or do anything else about their complaints. One of the five has also alleged sex discrimination because another tenant stated she was turning the complex into a “whorehouse” by allowing her fiancé to visit her overnight. Three of the five women have dismissed their charges in exchange for a waiver by management of its right to file a malicious prosecution action against them. Management is in the process of negotiating settlements with the remaining two women, agreeing to various accommodations including “sensitivity training” for management and tenants alike. At this point, $28,770 have been expended and covered.
“Testers” Test Differential Rent Charge Complaint
A married couple with one infant son complained to the Fair Housing Council that they had been quoted 30% additional rent for a two-bedroom apartment because of their child. In response, the council sent “testers” - investigators posing as married couples with children - to various complexes owned by the property management company to determine if differential rent rates were being quoted to applicants with families. The resulting lawsuit charges that assessing “unreasonable” surcharges to families with children versus baseline rentals to applicants with no children for comparable dwellings constitutes a discriminatory housing practice. Fearing trial, some $160,515 in costs have been covered.
Sexual and Ethnic Complaint Brings Ongoing Complaint, $18,998 Reimbursement
Husband and wife plaintiffs have charged the management of their Mobile Home Park with sexual and ethnic discrimination. The mobile home park had been serving the couple with 5-day-pay-or-quit notices for non-payment of rent over a period of two months. The plaintiffs retaliated by filing a discrimination Complaint with the State Anti-Discrimination Division just one day after the Park served them the final pay-or-quit notice. Management had received numerous letters from other tenants alleging loud and obnoxious behavior by the plaintiffs, complaining that the couple are abusive and yell obscenities at their neighbors. The plaintiffs have also been caught spray-painting a new property line over their neighbor’s grass and plants (by a neighbor who was mowing the lawn at 9:00 pm!) While the case is still alive, its costs have reached nearly $19,000 (all covered, to date) and no doubt will go higher.
Lack of Handicap Accessibility Triggers Suit
A tenant of a low cost apartment project who is quadriplegic and confined to a wheel chair alleges that her third floor apartment was leased to her with the representation that it was fully handicapped accessible. Nevertheless, she charges that there is no ramp from the third floor to ground level for use in emergency; that the elevator is frequently out-of-order, creating a hazard for her; that the exterior doors have only doorknobs which she is unable to use so must rely on neighbors or paid help to get in and out of the building; that there is insufficient clearance space in the kitchen and bathroom for the wheelchair, etc.; and that the apartment management is unwilling to make the necessary changes to accommodate her. An ongoing civil court suit has resulted in a $37,611 expenditure to date.)
Failure to Provide Handicapped Boy with First Floor Apartment Causes Suit
The mother of a 7-year-old boy born with cerebral palsy charged that the apartment complex in which they resided failed to accommodate her son’s handicap by not providing them with a first floor apartment even when one became available. The child required a wheelchair and sometimes a walking appliance to get around and had to be carried up any stairs, so a ground floor apartment was preferable. The management took the position that, because the plaintiff had signed a lease for an upper story apartment, she could not be released from that contract when another unit became available. The suit was settled by the plaintiff being granted an appropriate apartment, monetary damages and the requirement that the management staff attend a Fair Housing Act seminar. Claim is closed and resulted in an insurance payment of $3,900 to settle the matter.
Plaintiff Charges Neglect of Health Problems
Mother and adult daughter who suffered from a degenerative disc condition shared a second floor apartment. Plaintiffs charge that management failed to respond to their request for the installation of a second handrail in the stairwell to accommodate the daughter’s disability, nor was the swimming pool heated or the jacuzzi repaired so that the young woman could use it for physical therapy in spite of plaintiffs’ requests. Plaintiffs also charge that management failed to repair their clothes dryer, to seal their windows properly, to repaint interior apartment walls or clean carpets, to repair flooding damage to the rental unit, to fix a faulty furnace unit, etc. Finally, plaintiffs charge that management first agreed to permit them to vacate their lease for the aforementioned reasons, then charged them an exorbitant penalty to discontinue the agreement. Settlement costs at the end of the dispute totaled $25,472.
Loud “Black Music”, Beating/Fighting Noises
Plaintiff charged apartment management with racial discrimination because: management initially declined to rent to him on the pretext that units were too small for families with children although white families with children resided there; it took months for plaintiff to receive blinds although white tenants all had blinds; plaintiff was accused of playing “black music” too loudly although certain white neighbors made excessively loud “beating/fighting noises”; and plaintiff was denied lease renewal because he was late in paying rent when white tenants with similar rent payment records were allowed to remain. Finally, plaintiff charged that management was trying to force black tenants to move out before the complex became a condominium. Claim has settled with an insurance payment of $1,171 for legal fees.
No Access Ramp Brings ADA and ADEA Charges
An 85-year-old woman, who was blind and restricted to a wheel chair, had resided in her apartment for 20 years. She requested that an access ramp be built at the front of her apartment building because bus drivers were no longer permitted to physically assist her in getting down the steps and out of the building. Apartment management refused unless the elderly tenant paid for the installation (and possible removal, if she should vacate the apartment), contending that they would then have to build 47 more ramps for each of their buildings. The tenant filed a complaint of ADA and ADEA violations with the metropolitan Fair Housing Agency and in civil court. A compromise resolution of the matter requiring some $13,838 in insurance settled the matter.
Mixed-Race Children Caused Neighbors Harassment
A young single mother complained to apartment management and to the police that, after her two mixed race children were born, she, her older son, and her mother began being subjected to racial harassment by neighbors. Shortly after an investigation of the complaint, she received an eviction notice. Management took the position that there were two people illegally residing in the apartment (the two babies) because they were not on her lease. The family filed a charge of race discrimination with HUD and with the state Human Rights Commission. This ongoing matter has required $11,901 so far in covered legal fees.
Cerebral Palsy Victim Charges Disability Discrimination
Plaintiff, a woman with cerebral palsy, charged her apartment complex with disability discrimination for failure to maintain an accessible route from the entrance of its parking lot to the front entrance of her building. Additionally, plaintiff charged the transit bus ystem with failing to make reasonable modifications to its policies and procedures by allowing plaintiff to board its vehicles at the door of the apartment building rather than at the curb, thereby requiring her to traverse an inaccessible route in her wheelchair. As a direct result plaintiff charges she is largely homebound. While this claim is still alive, covered costs are $11,106.. Commission. (Wilds)