Irvine Co. settles suit alleging discrimination re: emotional support animals

December 28, 2015
Christmas came early to two people who had filed lawsuits against the Irvine Co. and its apartment affiliate earlier this year alleging discrimination against them because they needed emotional-support animals. California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced earlier this month that it had settled the suits for $175,000, which is how much money Irvine Co. Don Bren made in the time it took you to read this story so far.
      From their press release:
     The lawsuits filed in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of two residents, and the administrative complaints filed on behalf of six additional residents, alleged the companies failed to accommodate tenants with mental health disabilities by taking steps to discourage tenants from keeping emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation for their disabilities. The companies charged pet deposits and pet rent, imposed breed and size restrictions for legitimate support animals, and failed to engage in an interactive process to verify that tenants had genuine disabilities. The firms also lacked a uniform reasonable accommodation policy and failed to train their leasing professionals at their apartment communities about fair housing responsibilities toward people with disabilities. As a result, some tenants were evicted from their apartments or had their lease offers revoked. Others were forced to pay additional rent.