Action Properties in South Bend charged with violating IFHA
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s (ICRC) Deputy Director, Akia Haynes, announced today that there is reasonable cause to believe that Action Properties (AP), located in South Bend, violated the Indiana Fair Housing Act when they unreasonably delayed a disabled tenant’s request for a reasonable modification.
The charge against AP stems from a July 12, 2013 Complaint filed with the ICRC. In March 2013, Complaining party requested to have a stair lift, hand held shower head, and a handrail in the garage installed in March 2013 due to a physical impairment. The Complainant also identified a non-profit agency willing to pay for and complete the installation.
Later in March 2013, the Respondent (AP) agreed to allow the modifications with the stipulation that the Complainant make a $300 deposit in order to restore the property to its original state. The Complainant agreed to make $25 monthly installments to satisfy the deposit. However, Respondent contacted Complainant’s Section 8 caseworker and requested a rent increase.
Complainant’s Section 8 caseworker denied the request, and the Respondent provided the Complainant with a 30 day notice to vacate their unit. Complainant was unable to vacate the unit during the time period and Respondent filed for eviction.
“Housing providers are required to allow individuals to make reasonable modifications to their property at their own expense,” said Haynes. “Delaying or denying these requests is a violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act.”
Given the evidence provided by both parties, and following the state’s preliminary investigation, there is sufficient evidence to believe that the Complainant’s request for a reasonable modification was unreasonably delayed and subsequently denied. Specifically, the Respondent did not request a rent increase until Complainant made a request for a modification.
In order to show Respondent denied Complainant a reasonable modification, the Complaining party must prove: (1) they fall within a protected class; (2) Respondent knew or should have known Complainant was a member of a protected class; (3) Complainant made a verbal or written request for an accommodation; and (4) Respondent denied or unreasonably delayed Complainant’s request for a modification.
It is important to note that a finding of probable cause does not resolve a Civil Rights Complaint. Rather, it means the State has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable suspicion that the Indiana Civil Rights Law has been violated. The Indiana Civil Rights Law provides remedies, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the employer’s policies and training.
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana. For more information visit: www.in.gov/icrc or call 1-800-628-2909.