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Litigation Spotlight

Pennsylvania Federal District Court Rules that Altering Rent Due Date Can be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act for Tenants who Receive Disability Benefits

On June 29, 2018, a Pennsylvania federal court ruled in favor of Plaintiff Fair Housing Rights Center (“FHRC”) and against Defendant Morgan Properties Management Company in a lawsuit brought under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act by finding that a landlord can violate the FHA by maintaining a policy of refusing to consider the reasonable accommodation requests of disabled tenants who seek to alter their rent due dates to correspond with the receipt of their SSDI benefits. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Plaintiff FHRC by Relman, Dane, and Colfax, PLLC with the assistance of Disability Rights Pennsylvania.

The Honorable R. Barclay Surrick denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and held that the FHA permits consideration of a person’s disability-related financial circumstances in evaluating the necessity of a requested accommodation and that FHRC has adduced sufficient facts for a jury to find that rental due date accommodations can be reasonable and necessary to afford disabled tenants an equal opportunity to use and enjoy housing.

Defendant maintains a policy of refusing to alter its first-of-the-month due date for disabled tenants who make reasonable accommodation requests to pay their rent later in the month when they receive their SSDI checks even though Defendant has made rent due date adjustments for other tenants for non-disability related reasons.

The lawsuit is captioned Fair Hous. Rights Ctr. in Se. Pennsylvania v. Morgan Properties Mgmt. Co., LLC, No. CV 16-4677, 2018 WL 3208159 (E.D. Pa. June 29, 2018). Click here to read the Court’s opinion.