Found this in my local paper today - Posted by Jim IL

Posted by Geoffrey Faivre-Malloy on December 10, 2000 at 05:21:34:

I sure hope this lady has her assets protected!


Found this in my local paper today - Posted by Jim IL

Posted by Jim IL on December 10, 2000 at 04:00:38:

Hello all,
For those who are landlords, ALWAYS remember that we MUST be “Equal housing” people.
Below is an article from my local paper, and it caught me eye.
Last year I was trying to find a T/B’er for a home I had on a L/O, and one of the applicant was hearing impaired.
I put someone else in the home and had to deal with these applicants attorney to “Explain” why someone with MORE option money got the home.
Needless to say, I have been “Extra careful” as to “Who” I let into my homes, and “why” I deny others.
So, for educational and discussion purposes only, here is the article I found.

Blind couple says landlord could be in dog house for discrimination

Laurie Eakes would like to think her roommate is a neat fellow. He’s handsome, blond, clean, well-groomed ? a perfect gentleman in every way.

Gene Skonicki feels the same about his own constant companion, who also happens to be blonde-haired, and always on his best behavior.

That’s why Eakes and Skonicki, legally blind students at Aurora University, are so upset Dolores Soule would not rent an apartment to them.

The fact that the couple’s best friends, Rebel and Namath, are yellow Labrador retrievers should have nothing to do with where they can and cannot live. In fact, Eakes points out, it’s against the law to refuse to rent to someone because of a disability.

Eakes and Skonicki heard all about their rights when they met in August in Portland, Ore. She was from Virginia; he’s from Aurora. They were in Oregon at a training center to receive their new guide dogs. Not only did they learn how to work with these highly disciplined animals, they began a romantic relationship that resulted in Eakes moving to this city a few months ago.

Skonicki, a graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, is a computer programmer at IMSA. He wants to finish his degree in computer science. Eakes, a writer of historical mysteries, is working toward teacher re-certification. Their classes at AU are held in the evening when there’s no public transportation. Since their disability makes them unable to drive, it’s necessary they live within walking distance of campus.

That greatly limits their rental choices, they add. So when the two friends saw an ad for an apartment in a house on Calumet Avenue that was close to AU, they were excited; even more so when they discovered the house had a washer and dryer ? Eakes takes two buses just to get to a Laundromat.

According to the couple, when they showed up to look at the rental property, Soule asked them whether they had guide dogs; when they replied in the affirmative, she refused to give them an application.

Her reason: she had severe allergies to animals, and did not feel comfortable allowing two dogs into a house she planned to move back into in the near future.

“We told her that shouldn’t make any difference because she wasn’t the one living there now,” Eakes says.

The couple say most people are unaware of how clean and well-behaved guide dogs are. They are not pets, but highly-trained working animals (at a cost of $45,000) that are never left alone in homes because they accompany their owners at all times.

The irony of this whole situation, according to Jennifer Soule, who is Dolores Soule’s daughter and a Chicago attorney, is that her mother is a social worker who has spent most of her life advocating for others. In this case, however, as much as she would have liked to help out the couple, she is well aware of how violently she can react to animals

Her mother did not outright reject them, Soule says. She told them she needed to speak to her attorney. Then Eakes and Skonicki got belligerent “and stormed out before she could even get their phone numbers,” Soule says.

Jennifer Soule says she is well-versed on fair-housing laws, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such legislation, she adds, is not always cut and dried in its interpretation.

“I can see why (Eakes and Skonicki) would be angry,” she says. At the same time, the law allows for “reasonable accommodation” when it comes to disabilities. So the question becomes: is it reasonable to put someone’s health at risk to accommodate a disability?

Jennifer Soule says that, because of the problems that have arisen over the lease, her mother has decided not to rent the apartment, but to live in it part-time herself.

Skonicki and Eakes say that decision comes too late. The house was on the market, and, because of their guide dogs, they were denied the opportunity to rent it. “That is clearly in violation of the law,” Skonicki says.

The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic in Chicago is looking into the matter, according to Executive Director F. Willis Caruso. Skonicki and Eakes say they are pursuing the matter for two reasons: the house is ideal for their special needs, and they feel it is their responsibility to be an advocate for the blind.

“This is not just for us,” Skonicki says, “but for all people with disabilities.”

So, without commenting as to whether or not this landlord was right or wrong, just be aware of the law as you place people into your homes.

I happen to know this landlord, and she went thru a divorce and this is why she was renting out her home, until she could afford to move back into it.
She DOES have a SEVERE allergy to animals, so I see her point, but I also see her prospective tenants point as well.
With that said, be careful as to “How” you deny someone access to your properties.

Just an F.Y.I.,
Jim IL

Re: Found this in my local paper today - Posted by CurtNY

Posted by CurtNY on December 11, 2000 at 13:00:36:

I don’t own any rental properties so my point of view might not be the best, but the way I see it she (the landlord) has done nothing wrong. She did not deny them because they were blind she denied them because they have animals. Wether those animals are $45,000 seeing eye dogs or free muts from the SPCA it doesn’t matter. Its the owners right to allow (or in this case not allow) animals. I do understand the couples point but I don’t see a case here for them. I wish your friend the best of luck.


caught between a rock and a hard place… [nt] - Posted by SusanL.–FL

Posted by SusanL.–FL on December 11, 2000 at 09:23:15: