The Disabilities Rights Center receives frequent calls concerning rental housing units. People call the DRC with problems about accessible parking spaces, modifications to apartment space, issues of physical accessibility, problems with Section 8 vouchers, and allowances for service and companion pets ordered as an accommodation by a physician.
In one such recent case, the DRC argued the case on behalf of our client all the way to the NH Supreme Court, in the appeal of White Cliffs at Dover v. Elaine Bulman. The case concerned a charge of retaliatory eviction for reporting violations of the housing code and acts of discrimination. The tenant also claimed that the landlord had failed to provide her reasonable accommodations to her disability as mandated by the federal Fair Housing Act. The NH Supreme Court issued its decision on July 16, 2004. Unfortunately, the court found against Ms. Bulman, who will now be evicted from her apartment.
The Supreme Court found that there was no presumption of retaliation because the timelines for notice had not been met. It left in place the Dover District Court’s ruling that there was no retaliation, and affirmed the lower court’s ruling that White Cliffs had made a reasonable accommodation. Attorney Ronald Lospennato represented Ms. Bulman in this case.
Tenants should take note of the fact that, in upholding the decision of the lower court, the Supreme Court found that the apartment complex was not required to provide the ideal accommodation for the tenant, but rather a reasonable one.