Friday, November 4, 2011

HUD: Landlord Drove Elderly Couple Out Of Rented Home Because Of Manager’s Perception That They Were Unable To Care For Themselves

From a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development press release:

  • HUD CHARGES MINNESOTA PROPERTY OWNER, MANAGER WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ELDERLY COUPLE (Manager pressured couple to move to assisted living even though they were able to live independently):

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging a Foley, Minnesota property owner, manager, and management company with violating the Fair Housing Act for forcing an elderly couple to vacate their apartment because of the manager’s perception that they were unable to care for themselves.

    HUD brings the charge on behalf of the couple, alleging that Big Norway, LLC, Northern Management Real Estate Services, Inc., and its employee, Laura Schroden, pressured the couple to move to an assisted living facility even though there was no evidence that the couple was a safety threat to themselves or to others.


  • According to HUD’s charge, Northern Management’s Vice President of Operations, Laura Schroden, contacted the couple’s children and grandchildren multiple times in a campaign to pressure the couple to move out of the building.

    Big Norway, Northern Management, and Schroden cited the couple’s “forgetfulness” and how easily they “would get agitated when involved in different situations” as evidence of management’s belief that the couple “should be in assisted living.”

    Schroden described the couple as “handicapped” even though there had been no incidents involving the couple’s health or safety in their more than three years of tenancy at the apartment complex. The family, who visited frequently, maintained that the couple was still active and capable of living on their own: they managed their own bills, shopping, and laundry, and frequently babysat for their great-grandchildren. After one of the couple’s complaints to management, Schroden allegedly told their grandson that they should moveright away or they may find themselves without housing.”

    Although the couple repeatedly informed management that they did not want to move and did not need help, after more than three months of pressure they moved to a townhouse in a senior community 20 miles away, where they could no longer visit frequently with their family. The couple continues to live independently. (lawsuit here).

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