We have been renting a condo for three years and feel that our family has been harassed and discriminated against on several occasions. The HOA has given us finds on several occasions for our dogs barking excessively. We have been verbally threatened with eviction on several occasions. The dogs are prescribed to my wife for her disability as a companion, isn’t this discrimination? We have also been asked to leave a community meeting because they stated that “no renters allowed” even though the invitation was publicly posted. Numerous times police have been sent to our apartment because of this discrimination. Are we being discriminated against?
Answer: The answer to your question is yes and no. Some of what you are discussing is a form of discrimination and other things that you are discussing is simply not discrimination I’ll touch on what is discrimination first, mainly the animals which are prescribed for your wife was a disability. Not allowing a service animal such as a seeing-eye dog or a companion, which is prescribed by a doctor for someone, especially someone with a disability, is a form of discrimination. That being said, the service animal also cannot be causing the other residents where you live to not be able to enjoy where they live peacefully. See do have a little bit of a situation there, if they were stating no dogs. That is certainly discrimination, but if they are justifiable concerned with the other tenants or residents are having their quiet enjoyment of their homes disturbed by the behavior of your pets, that is not discrimination. So if other people can have pets as long as their pets are quiet and they’re complaining about how loud your pets are, that is not a form of discrimination. Now let’s get to what certainly is not discrimination, that is not being invited to a homeowners association meeting. As a renter, you are simply not a homeowner and have no rights of a homeowner simply because you are renting from the homeowner. For discrimination there needs to be a protected class and you’re being treated differently because of being a member of that protected class. In this situation being a renter is not a protected class, so regardless that you’re being treated differently, it’s because you simply do not own the property you live on in the rest of the people at that meeting actually own their condos. If they stated “No Hispanic condo owners” that would be a different matter, but being a “renter” doesn’t make you a member of a protected class of individuals. Simply put you are not a home owner and have no business at a homeowners association meeting.
Some of you may be wondering why I even posted something that is not discrimination, because informing people of what discrimination is and what discrimination is not are both important to understanding the issues of discrimination. Discrimination is not when you feel that you are being treated badly, discrimination has certain criteria that must be addressed before a particular behavior is considered discrimination. The most simple way to put it is discrimination is when you are the member of a particular protected group of individuals and you are treated differently because you’re a member of that group.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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