Dorothy is a 70-year-old tenant in Santa Monica, California. She is unable to work because of multiple documented physical disabilities. Because she can't work and doesn't have sufficient income to pay her rent, Dorothy relies on a Section 8 housing voucher. Additionally, Dorothy needs a live-in caregiver to help her with daily living activities.
Dorothy's landlord did not want to accept a Section 8 voucher and didn't want to allow a live-in caregiver. A case analyst from the Housing Rights Center (HRC) contacted the landlord and explained that Dorothy's needs were related to her disability, and fair housing laws applied to her.
Eventually, the landlord agreed to the request of the HRC and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) to allow the live-in caregiver and accept the Section 8 voucher, which provided the landlord with significantly more rent.
Dorothy, the HRC and LAFLA relied on federal and state fair housing laws that require landlords to make reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities. See 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(b), Cal. Govt. Code § 12927(c)(1); Cal. Civ. Code § 54.1(b)(1). "A reasonable accommodation is a change in a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary to allow a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling." 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f); see also Giebeler v. M & B Associates, 343 F.3d 1143, 1147 (9th Cir. 2003); United States v. California Mobile Home Park Mgmt. Co., 107 F.3d 1374, 1380 (9th Cir. 1997). Failure to provide a necessary reasonable accommodation constitutes discrimination. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B).