Mass. SJC Says Indefinite Eviction Delay is Not Reasonable Accommodation
In an opinion issued yesterday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld, against challenges under the Fair Housing Act and state disability discrimination law, the Andover Housing Authority's eviction of an elderly couple who had been disturbing their neighbors and making excessive noise. The couple asked for a delay in the eviction to accommodate the serious medical condition of the wife (who had neuralgia, lymphoma, dementia, and depression -- all of which might have contributed to the loud arguments the couple continuously carried on). But the court held that such an accommodation was not reasonable because there was no reason to believe that there would ever be a time when the couple would stop disturbing their neighbors. The court also noted that the couple had never told the housing authority that a medical condition might be at the root of their noise problem, but that the housing authority had engaged in a careful interactive process to explore alternatives before finally settling on eviction as the only remedy. The case is Andover Housing Authority v. Shkolnik, 2005 WL 75476 (Mass., Jan. 14, 2005).