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New Fair Housing Disability Lawsuit Settled in Livingston County

April 24, 2020 | Categories: About the FHC | Tags: assistance animals, disability, Disability Rights, Emotional Support Animal, Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan

Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
PO Box 7825, Ann Arbor, MI 48107 (877) 979-FAIR www.fhcmichigan.org

March 26, 2020

Media Contacts: Pam Kisch, (734) 272-8383; Attorney Francyne Stacey, (734) 545-4883
A copy of the filed complaint is available upon request.

New Fair Housing Lawsuit Settled in Livingston County

Scott Lorms settled his lawsuit based on disability discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. The amount of the settlement is not disclosed. The lawsuit alleged that T & R Properties and Zahler Management denied him the right to rent an apartment with his emotional support animals(ESAs). Mr. Lorms has a disability as defined under the Fair Housing Act.

According to the complaint taken by the Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan
(FHC), Mr. Lorms called T & R Properties on November 27, 2018, to inquire about a rental unit in Pinckney. Based on the size, location, and price of the duplex, Mr. Lorms thought the property was perfect for him and his family. The home was close enough to Ann Arbor to visit with friends and family and was a short commute to Mr. Lorms’ job in South Lyon.

Mr. Lorms alleged that after he explained to the agent that he had emotional support dogs –which are not considered pets under the Fair Housing Act – the rental agent ended the call
because the company had a “No dogs allowed policy”.

Mr. Lorms then called the Fair Housing Center and filed a complaint. Testing by the FHC
supported his claim. Lorms first elected to have the Fair Housing Center resolve the complaint without legal action; it was not successful.

Because they were denied housing, Mr. Lorms and his family had to rent more expensive
housing that was much further away from his work, friends, and family.

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is unlawful to discriminate in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a disability of that buyer or renter. Discrimination is defined in the Act to include refusing “to make reasonable
accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services” when necessary to afford such person
with a disability an “equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.”

Fair Housing Center Cooperating Attorney Francyne B. Stacey filed the fair housing complaint
in U.S. Federal District Court on July 31, 2019. The case was assigned to the Honorable Nancy
G. Edmunds. The case was resolved, on February 11, 2020, for an undisclosed amount.

Scott Lorms and dogs

Photograph: Lorms with Curiz and Riley. Photograph provided by Scott Lorms. Higher resolution photos available upon request

The Fair Housing Center of Southeast & Mid Michigan, founded in 1992, actively protects the civil rights of those who are discriminated against in the rental, sale, or financing of housing through investigation, education, advocacy, and legal action. The FHC takes an average of 160 complaints each year from its eight-county service area – Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, and Washtenaw.

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.

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