U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Eugene Division, decision (January 11, 2017).
This case involved a dispute over a homeowners associations denial of a members request for an accommodation from a restrictive covenant that prohibited them from parking large vehicles in their driveways. The owners requested the accommodation due to the disability of a child that resided in the members home. The homeowners had requested an exception from the covenant because they asserted that their disabled daughters condition required them to have the ability to park a Class C RV in front of their home in order for their daughter to be able to use and enjoy their dwelling. Because the HOA denied their request for an accommodation, the homeowners filed suit against the association, and its president, alleging violations of the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Oregon Fair Housing Act.
Part of the Associations defense of the action included contentions that the HOA was under no legal obligation to grant the accommodation because the accommodation related to transportation, and not the ability to use or enjoy the owners home itself. Thus, the issue in controversy was whether the storage of an RV is a reasonable accommodation that was required for the daughter to use or enjoy the familys dwelling. A second issue that is a required element of obtaining an accommodation was whether the requested accommodation was reasonable.
In addressing the issues, the Court noted that a plaintiff in an FHAA case does not have to prove that the requested accommodation is the best or only way to solve a disability-related problem. The requirements are that a housing provider make any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary to permit use and enjoyment of the home. The Court further noted that: (i) whether a requested accommodation is necessary is a question of fact that was established by the homeowners; and (ii) an accommodation is reasonable under the FHAA when it imposes no fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or undue financial or administrative burdens. In applying the law, the Court found that the homeowners met their burden of showing the necessity and the reasonableness of the requested accommodation. Accordingly, the Court entered judgment in favor of the homeowners and imposed liability on both the federal and state claims for discrimination by refusing to make a reasonable accommodation in the provision of services in connection with housing.
See case decision:Kuhn_v._Mcnary_Estates_Homeo