I have been defending fair housing cases for many years now. From Alaska to Florida and just about everywhere in between. I deal with investigators from HUD as well as many state, county and city agencies. And I have defended against claims dealing with all of the protected classes in the Fair Housing Act.
A new case hit my desk this week. I took a quick look. A resident claims he has been discrminated against because management has not provided him a handicapped parking space as a reasonable accommodation. I was surprised when I read the allegations as, for the most part, handicap parking spots are relatively easy in my world and only in unusual cases should they devolve into a housing discrimination complaint.
So, I call my community manager to get our version of the story. And she informs me that our valued resident NEVER made any request for an accommodation. He walks to and from his car at our community. Indeed, he already has his own assigned spot. Yet, apparently unsatisfied, he wants a different spot because of his disability. In other words, we got sued before we had any chance to act on the request.
Now, management gets to hire me and pay my fees defending against a claim that should never have been filed. To any potential plaintiffs out there who need a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification based on a disability: management will do our best to respond to your needs. However, you really should let us know of your request (and perhaps provide a note from your medical or health care professional) and let us respond to it BEFORE you file your complaint.
Just A Thought.