Reasonable Accommodation charge issued against Mar-Main Apartments

The Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), has issued a Notice of Finding against Mar-Main Apartments (Respondent). The charge states that probable cause exists to believe that an unlawful discriminatory practice has occurred (Ind. Code § 22-9, et seq.).

By way of background, Respondent’s property manager admits that Respondent does not permit dogs on their property and is a “cat-only” building.  On August 20, 2014, Complainant contacted Respondent, informed Respondent that he had a companion dog, and inquired about renting a unit.  Respondent admits that it informed Complainant that it was a “cat only” building and did not permit dogs.  While Respondent stated that it also asked Complainant to provide documentation substantiating that the dog was a companion animal and current on all shots, such information is not required before granting a reasonable accommodation. 

Despite Respondent’s assertions, sufficient evidence exists to believe that it violated the law as alleged.  Specifically, Respondent admits that it informed Complainant that it was a “cat-only” building, that dogs were not permitted, and that he needed to provide licensure information. These comments and behaviors are violations of the law and reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory practice occurred in this instance.

The issue before the ICRC is whether Respondent represented a refusal to make a reasonable accommodation.  In order to prevail on such a claim, Complainant must show that 1) he represented himself to have a disability as defined under the law; 2) Respondent knew that the Complainant represented himself to have a disability as defined under the law; 3) he requested a reasonable accommodation; and 4) Respondent unreasonably denied the request for a reasonable accommodation.  It is evident that Complainant represented himself to have a disability as defined under the law; moreover, Respondent admits that the Complainant represented that he had a “companion dog.”  However, Respondent admits that it informed Complainant that it was a “cat only” building, thereby denying the request for a reasonable accommodation. 

A public hearing is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act and/or the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred as alleged.  

Click here for official Notice of Findings document.