Real estate company settles Fair Housing suit

January 15, 2010
The Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania (FHRC), a private non-profit organization dedicated to ending housing discrimination, has settled a fair housing suit against Michael Singer Real Estate. Michael Singer Real Estate is a management company that owns and operates rental sites throughout Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. After extensive investigation that was conducted over the course of one year, the FHRC found violations of the reasonable accommodation provisions of federal and state fair housing laws.
     The federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in housing-related transactions, mandates that people with disabilities who use service animals must be granted a reasonable accommodation to “no pets” policies. This is to ensure that people with disabilities that require service animals have the same housing options as everyone else.
     In 2008, the FHRC uncovered discriminatory practices when a tester was told that Michael Singer Real Estate management would not waive their “No Dogs” policy for someone who had a service animal. As a result, the Center stepped up its investigation and conducted numerous tests at varying Michael Singer Real Estate properties. Test results showed that multiple agents and multiple sites had a policy and practice of denying service animals, including seeing-eye dogs, seizure alert dogs, hearing impaired dogs, and emotional support dogs.