WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An apartment management company near Purdue's campus is accused of violating state civil rights laws by demanding a disabled tenant pay more for a service dog.
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission announced Tuesday there is probable cause to believe that Granite Management LLC violated the Indiana Fair Housing Act when it issued a notice of eviction to a disabled tenant who refused to pay a pet fee for a service animal.
According to the lease agreement, a fee of $300 would be charged each time a pet was found on a tenant's property, and the tenant in question had been charged twice, even though he had presented a doctor's note last year requesting an accommodation to keep the dog at the apartment, the ICRC said.
But Granite Management denied the request, stating, "If he needs to keep the dog, then he should have to pay for it," according to the ICRC ruling, later issuing a notice of eviction when the tenant when he failed to pay an additional fee.
"The Fair Housing Act prevents property owners from denying the use of a service animal and\or charging an additional or 'pet' fee. It's important to note that a service animal is not a 'pet,'" ICRC Deputy Director Akia Haynes said in a news release. "It is clear that the complainant is afforded protection by virtue of his disability. Further, the respondent was aware of the complainant's disability and denied his request for a reasonable accommodation."
Joel Brovont, manager at Granite Management, told RTV6 that the company has already been in contact with the ICRC, and that it never evicted or implied that it intended to evict the resident in question.
"We do not believe we are in violation of the Fair Housing Act or Indiana Civil Rights Law," he said.
Granite Management has 30 days to file an answer to the charge.