Management company settles suit over extra charges for caregiver

PRESS RELEASE --FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For further information contact: Diana Bruno, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of the San Fernando Valley at 818-373-1185

Panorama City, CA - An 86 year old Los Angeles tenant with severe disabilities and the Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley have obtained a Consent Decree against a property management company prohibiting it from charging extra fees for tenants using care-givers.

The tenant and the council sued DARE Property Management in December of 2003 alleging that defendants increased the disabled tenants rent twice in two years because his in-home support service worker, DARE declined to rescind the rent increases even after the Council's education and demand letter.  Also, an investigator from the City of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Board rejected the tenant's appeal of the rent increases.

"The fair housing laws protect persons with disabilities from extra charges when they need care-givers," said Diana Bruno, the Council's Executive Director. "Property management companies and city staff should know this, so hopefully this Consent Decree will make those special protections better known."

Federal district judge Dickson Teurizian signed the Consent Decree on March 11, 2004. Under its terms, DARE must pay $25,000 to the plaintiffs, rescind all rent charges based on caregivers, send all staff to fair housing training, and mail fair housing literature to its tenants at over 25 rental properties.

The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Gary Rhoades of Los Angeles and Michelle White of Affordable Housing Services in Pasadena.