Owner Not Liable for Disability Discrimination
Facts: A resident claimed that during her tenancy at a site she was harassed and assaulted by her neighbors for her alleged disability, that the site and its employees failed to take corrective action, and that her Section 8 specialist at the local housing authority conspired with the site owner to terminate her Section 8 benefits and to evict her.
During her tenancy, she repeatedly complained to the site management about “unusual noises” coming from her neighbors upstairs. The manager suggested that she contact the police department because there was nothing the site management could do. The neighbors allegedly continued their harassment, and in October 2006, the resident claimed that the manager and the neighbors assaulted and battered her in the site's leasing office. Shortly thereafter, the site retained an attorney to serve the resident with a three-day notice to quit, allegedly for the purpose of harassing her. In turn, the resident filed a countersuit of housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
Ruling: A California district court dismissed the resident's lawsuit.
Reasoning: The court ruled that the resident's complaint was insufficient. The court said that it couldn't assess whether the resident has a handicap within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, because she didn't provide any details regarding her alleged disability. Instead, she asserted that she “is a disabled veteran receiving a disability, which qualified her for her federally subsidized assistance program Section 8.”
But even if the resident could make a sufficient showing that she is, in fact, disabled as defined by federal law, she didn't offer any facts from which the court could infer that the owner sought to terminate her Section 8 benefits because of her handicap.
- Drawsand v. F.F. Properties, September 2011