Not allowing tenant support pooch cost apartment owners $35G

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CONCORD - A settlement was reached Tuesday in the case of a real estate company accused of discrimination for violating the Fair Housing Act over its refusal to allow a support animal at a Nashua apartment complex.

The consent decree was ordered by U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante, according to a press release sent from the U.S. Attorneys Office.

The decision stems from a complaint filed in April of 2021, in which the United States alleged that John J. Flatley d/b/a John J. Flatley and a property manager employed by Flatley discriminated against a tenant by refusing to allow the disabled tenant to have an emotional support animal, a dog named Molly.

The tenant, who experienced anxiety and depression, wanted to use Molly as an emotional support animal.

After the tenant requested permission to have an emotional support animal at the apartment, Flatley and the property manager agreed to permit the tenant to have an emotional support animal, but not a dog. The complaint alleged Flatley would not permit tenants to have dogs as emotional support animals. The press release did not reveal what type of animal the tenant was allowed.

The United States and Flatley agreed to the entry of a consent decree, which Judge Laplante approved on Monday. Without admitting liability, Flatley agreed to pay the tenant $35,000, enact reasonable accommodation policies for its New Hampshire residential properties that comply with the FHA, and complete FHA training.

"Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities," said Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley. "We are pleased that the company has agreed to resolve this matter and is now instituting policies and conducting training so that individuals with disabilities are given equal housing opportunities. As this case demonstrates, the U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws in the Granite State."

"Protecting the rights of individuals and families when their fair housing rights are violated is central to HUD's mission," said Demetria L. McCain, HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD commends the Department of Justice for reaching this settlement and for pursuing allegations of fair housing violations."

This lawsuit arose from an administrative complaint filed by the tenant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Upon investigation, HUD determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the FHA had been violated. The tenant elected, pursuant to the FHA, to have HUD's determination resolved in federal court.

The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

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