Settlement Underscores Requirement that Covenants and HOAs make Reasonable Accommodations

CREEC is pleased to announce that the Lofland family will be able to park the special needs recreational vehicle — so essential to their son’s therapy and well-being — next to their house in Larkspur, and to build the fence they need to ensure his safety.   Image: An RV parked next to the side of a house.

The Perry Park Filing #3 “Architectural Control Committee” (ACC), tasked with enforcing the covenants in their neighborhood had, for the past year, refused to approve these measures, leading CREEC to file suit earlier this year. The ACC was under the incorrect but unfortunately common misconception that its covenants trumped federal fair housing law and that, because the Loflands had not submitted their many requests in the format required by the ACC, the requests could be denied.  In fact:

 

The Fair Housing Act requires reasonable accommodations in homeowner association (HOA) rules and other covenants where necessary to ensure that people with disabilities can use and enjoy their dwellings.

Furthermore, the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development have issued guidance clarifying that

Housing providers, including HOAs, architectural committees, and landlords, may not refuse a request for a reasonable accommodation because the individual making the request did not follow any formal procedures that the provider has adopted.

It’s unfortunate that it took a lawsuit, but almost immediately after suit was filed, the ACC came to the table offering to resolve the claims.  On April 22, 2016, the Court entered a Consent Decree stating that the defendants acknowledged that the fair housing act required the requested accommodations and ordering the defendants to take no action to prevent either the RV or the fence.

Congratulations to the Loflands – we wish them many years of comfort and enjoyment in their home.

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