Salisbury v. City of Santa Monica

Facts: A landlord provides housing for low-income persons at a housing project. The sole signer of a lease agreement on a unit dies leaving a disabled occupant in possession. Despite the landlord’s request, the occupant does not enter into a new lease agreement. The occupant requests the landlord accommodate their disability by waiving the project’s rules to allow the occupant to store their vehicle next to their unit. The landlord denies the request and the occupant sues the landlord for discriminating against a disabled person.

Claim: The occupant claims the landlord of the housing unit discriminated against a disabled person under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) since the landlord refused to grant parking accommodations.

Counterclaim: The landlord claims they did not discriminate against a disabled person under the FHAA since the FHAA does not apply to disabled non-tenant individuals who have not entered into a lease agreement or paid rent.

Holding: The federal ninth circuit district court of appeals holds the landlord did not discriminate against a disabled person under the FHAA by refusing to grant parking accommodations since the FHAA does not protect occupants who have neither entered into a lease nor paid rent and are therefore not a tenant. [Salisbury v. City of Santa Monica (9th Cir. April 16, 2021) _F1D_]

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