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Civil rights violations claim filed by disabled condo tenant

The federal government filed a lawsuit against the property owner of the apartment complex in New York. The claim alleges civil rights violations against a disabled tenant. The U.S. Attorney's office says the resident's deteriorating health necessitated the help of a service dog, and this was where the problem arose.

According to court documents, the tenant was a longtime sufferer of a kidney disease, and in March last year, doctors advised him he was in the end-stage of renal disease. At that time, his mental health deteriorated significantly, along with his ability to care for himself. A service dog could have provided much-needed help, and he sought the landlord's permission to obtain such a dog.

However, as shown in the complaint, the tenant achieved nothing more than excessive demands by the property owner. The landlord's company required copies of the tenant's medical history and his therapist's notes as far back as May 2014. Furthermore, the company demanded that a physician nominated by the property owner examine the man. Then this doctor and the tenant's therapist were required to provide answers to questions about his condition. This had to be done under oath.

After the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development received the complaint filed by the tenant, the federal agency launched an investigation and determined that a violation of the Fair Housing Act had likely occurred. The property owners then chose to litigate, which prompted the U.S. Attorney's office to file the lawsuit. Residents of New York who believe they have been victims of civil rights violations may want to discuss their cases with an experienced attorney who can assess their claims and do what is necessary to protect their rights.

Source: Upper East Side, NY Patch, "Upper East Side Landlord Prevented Tenant From Keeping Service Dog: DOJ", Brendan Krisel, Dec. 8, 2016

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