HUD complaint for reasonable accommodation for an emotional support animal

There are many emails to be had over three and one half year that I have been a tenant of High Falls Property Management; because of this volume and the time restraints to get this complaint filed, I will present only a few of the most important emails; I know I will be missing many but I hope we can get them to you at a later date.

HUD HousingDiscriminationComplaint-page-001.jpg

 

PLEASE!  https://www.gofundme.com/HarryDavis

 

I am filing this discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against High Falls Property Management (HFPM) because HFPM failed to show me “reasonable accommodation” for an “emotional support animal”. In fact, HFPM has specifically terminated my lease because of my “emotional support animal” and attained a court order for me to vacate the premises by July 31, 2016.

Here is the time line regarding my situation with the emotional support animal:

March, 2016: I am told by HFPM that my cat must go.

May 24, 2016: Request is made by letter from Steven I. Cooper, social worker, to HFPM for “reasonable accommodation for emotional support animal”, i.e., my cat which has received all shots and is spayed.

May 31, 2016: Michelle Wheeler, owner of HFPM replies re, “reasonable request for emotional support animal.”: “Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.Thank you.”

June 1,2016: I Harry Davis, post this Facebook page entitled: “High Falls Property Management Denies Tenant’s Emotional Support Animal”  https://www.facebook.com/EmotionalSupportAnimal/

June 1, 2016: Mr. John Nacca, ESQ, attorney for HFPM, admittedly has “one hour telephone conversation with Michelle Wheeler” concerning Ms. Wheeler apparent rage over the posting of the Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/EmotionalSupportAnimal/ . This conversation was told in person to myself, Harry Davis by Mr. Nacca in the presence of Douglas Fisher, ESQ, my attorney, while taking a break in eviction court on June 15, 2016. If Mr. Nacca tells the truth, under oath, he will state that this was the probable cause for Ms. Wheeler to terminate my tenancy on June 2, 2016. Mr. Fisher will testify to the validity of this conversation. Also, in this same conversation, Mr. Nacca told me, Harry Davis, that he would act as a reference for me if and when I am in need of future housing.

June 2, 2016: I am served with a notice stating: Termination of Tenancy.”  “This letter serves as formal written notification that you are hereby required within 30 days, or at the end of your next monthly rent period, to remove from and deliver up possession of the above-described premises, which you currently hold and occupy. You have until July 31, 2016 by 12pm to vacate the premises.” signed by Colleen Porata.

June 6, 2016: I am served papers to appear in eviction court on June 15, 2016 to pay rent for May, 2016, $296; June 2016, $371; late fees, $50.

June 15, 2016: Without any words by me and the judge, and without presentation of my written answer, I am ordered by Judge Crimi to pay May & June rent by June 22; July rent by July 5, 2016. I am ordered to pay attorney’s fees of $285 by August 1, 2016.

June 20, 2016: The web site, www.HighFallsPropertyManagement-rip-off.com is online.

June 21, 2016: Another day, another reason for HFPM to enter false, fraudulent numbers on my ledger. On the advice of my attorney, Douglas Fisher, I am documenting today’s blatant attempt of High Falls Property Management to do fraudulent bookkeeping. At approximately 3PM today, June 20, 2016, I rode the bus to HFPM office on Lyell Avenue in Gates, NY. I arrived with money orders totaling $717. This was to satisfy a court action. The breakdown of what I owed was $296 for May rent plus $25 late fee=$321. June rent, $371 plus late fee, $50=$396; $321+396=$717 As I rode the bus, I saw the front desk attendant, “Nancy” standing outside the office with another bleached blonde female HFPM employee whose name I do not know. I arrived in the office and handed “Nancy” 2 money orders totaling $717. Usually, I am given a receipt within a minute or two. Today, I waited, I waited, waited. About 5 minutes later I asked f there was a problem. Nancy said no. Then the telephoned the back office. Then she got up and went to the back office. Then she came back out and I still waited. Still no receipt. I asked if there was a problem. Finally, after I had been standing there for 23 minutes, Nancy handed me a receipt. It was for a total of $717 but instead of applying the $50 total to my later fees, AS REQUIRED BY THE COURT AGREEMENT BETWEEN MY ATTORNEY DOUGLAS FISHER AND HFPM ATTORNEY JOHN NACCA,  HFPM wrote me and gave me a receipt for $667 with a total of $50 applied to”Professional Legal Services.”

I know it was 3:33PM because I immediately telephoned my attorney Douglas Fisher at 3:33PM. I know it is 3:33 because the time is on my telephone for this call.I told Mr. Fisher that HFPM was fraudulently giving me a wrong receipt so they could say to the court that I did not pay what was agreed and therefore, HFPM could ask the court to evict me within 72 hours. I waited there 23 minutes, only to be given a fraudulent receipt. Mr. Fisher asked me to speak with “Nancy.” Nancy would not speak to Mr. Fisher. Mr Fisher told me he was reporting this incident to the HFPM attorney. Mr.John Nacca. This is just another attempt of criminal, fraudulent “bookkeeping” that HFPM has used against me to take my security deposit since I became their tenant on February 9, 2013, to make my “money owed” way too high to justify sending me to court. In short, HFPM is a criminal racket that can be proved to be in violation of the RICO Act.

June 22, 2016: I received a letter from attorney John Nacca.

RE: Cease and Desist Notification for High Falls Property Management, LLC

Dear Mr. Davis:

Over the last week or so it has come to our attention that you have been repeatedly attacking the professionalism, integrity and honesty of High Falls Property Management and its employees. This has been primarily undertaken via your use of the Internet and Facebook. and generally consists of exaggerations, falsehoods, distortions of the truth and blatant lies. You have taken it upon yourself to utilize photos of High Falls Property management, LLC  employees  in support of your distortions and attacks. Up to this point High Falls has allowed you to continue with this irrational attack hoping that once the eviction proceeding settled in Court that you would stop. I am sure you are aware that the eviction proceeding brought against you was for non-payment of your rent and nothing else. High Falls Management and the owner of Meigs Street were well within their rights to bring this proceeding on. It has nothing to do with your pet.

I have specifically mentioned to your attorney that these outrageous attacks needed to stop. Since they have not I am sending you this letter to formally put you on notice that any further lies or distortions of the truth relative to High Falls property Management, LLC or its employees will no longer be tolerated. In point of fact we demand that your web site(s) be taken down immediately and that any disparaging remarks on Facebook or any other social media channels cease immediately. In the event that you persist in thee attacks I have been instructed to commence legal action against you seeking not only damages for your lies but a Restraining order from a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting you from making disparaging remarks against the Company its employees o the owners of the property which would negatively impact the reputation and integrity of the company. In point of fact we will be seeking a complete Restring Order prohibiting you from spewing the lies and exaggerations you have become so expert and creating (sic). Hopefully I will not have to do so but rest assured that I will not hesitate should you persist.

Very truly yours,

John Nacca

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On May 24, 2016, myself & Michelle Wheeler received this letter from Steven I. Cooper, LCSW-R, BCD:

May 24, 2016

High Falls Property Management

Michelle Wheeler, Property Manager

2255 Lyell Avenue, Suite #201

Rochester, NY 14606

Re: Harry Davis

Dear Ms. Wheeler:

I am a NYS licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New York and have been in an independent private practice for over 15 years. My practice is limited to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of adults and couples who are struggling with various mental health concerns.   I am writing on behalf of Mr. Davis who has been seen by me for evaluation of his mental health concerns. He contacted me presenting with depressive and anxiety sx., as well as physical limitations from near total foot amputations as a result of p/ bacterial meningitis. He has a generalized anxiety disorder. Mr. Davis suffers from a broad range of symptoms as a result of this. These include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, chronic fatigue, inability to experience pleasure in his life, early and middle insomnia, appetite changes, worry, nervousness, tension and irritability.

Mr. Davis has had a previous existing rel with a cat of his that has served as a companion and for emotional support. In situations like Mr. Davis’s a beloved pet provides the comfort and relief from isolation and other symptoms that result from his conditions. This pet would also enhance his ability to use and enjoy the dwelling you provide for him as well as support his own independence as he will be caring for the cat. I believe a cat may meet the criteria of an emotional support animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus I am asking for your consideration in providing him reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing and Rehabilitation Act as well as the ADA, and permitting him to have his cat back as an emotional support animal.If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,

Steven I Cooper, LCSW-R, BCD

NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In response to the letter from Steven Cooper, I received this email from Michelle Wheeler on May 31, 2016:

May 31 at 6:05pm · 
Michelle Wheeler
Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com>
4:13 PM (1 hour ago)
to Alex, me, Colleen, Julie, Nicole

Harry,

This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution. I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.

Regarding the maintenance items, you are billed per your lease regardless of whether you agree or not. Section 8 would not allow you to remain in the unit if there was not adequate heat. That is irreverent at this point. It is May 31st and your portion of May rent is unpaid. June rent is due tomorrow.

On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.

There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.Thank you.

Notice this:

Michelle Wheeler states: “I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.”

At this point I only owe HFPM May rent, $296.

At this point, Michelle Wheeler & collections agent Colleen Porata told me I owed them $800.73. $250 of this amount was billed to me for having a cat!

As evidence of this, we have Michelle Wheeler stating this to me in an email dated May 31, 2016: court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

For this discrimination complaint to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), I will present relevant details showing complete dis-honesty on the part of my landlord, High Falls Property Management (HFPM), especially related to their bookkeeping, i.e., billing me for fraudulent charges, refusing to state any real, existing, reason why they say I owed HFPM for charges, other than to keep an ongoing ledger balance against me so that they could justify taking me to court at any time due to an “acceptable balance” on my ledger. I rent an apartment from High Falls Property management at 294 Meigs Street, #5, Rochester, NY 14607.  I am severely disabled, both feet are amputated, my hands are broken and far from 100% usable, all from a near deadly bout of bacterial meningitis that put me in the hospital from March 15, 2001, until my release, March 8, 2002, a total of 51 weeks to the day.   Let me say this again, lying, false charges and a total lack of respect for the tenant (me) has been my experience with High Falls Property Management, specifically Michelle Wheeler, owner of HFPM, since February 8, 2013. Since I have moved in here, there has NEVER been an accurate reading of my financial obligations by HFPM! Never. They have been dishonest with me since Day #1. Also, I have never met, nor have I ever spoken with Michelle Wheeler, not on the telephone, nor in person since February, 2013. However, there are countless email exchanges between myself an HFPM management & employees over 3.5 years. Now, I am facing homelessness as a letter from The Rochester Housing Office has arrived today (June 23, 2013).  According to this letter, I may lose my Section 8 benefits because of HFPM!

I will document these false charges below. You can see them by logging into my High Falls Property Management account here:

http://www.highfallspropertymanagement.com/

go to “tenants”

un: ergoback@gmail.com

pw: Aspen81611  (capital “A”)

I receive a total income of $840 per month from SSI & SSD. Section 8 pays 3/4 of my rent. I do not have and will not have the necessary funds available to find and rent a new home come July 31. I learned today that my Section 8 housing voucher is in real jeopardy because of this incident. I am very scared and I cannot do any other work that I need to do to support myself because of this. Again, my feet are amputated. I am not expecting ANY of my $750 deposit returned by HFPM. I am truly looking at living in the streets come August 1, 2016.

My rent when I moved into HFPM was $750 per month. My SSI & SSD income has basically not been raised more than $10 since February, 2013 but my HFPM rent has gone from $750 to $925! They know I get $840 per month, where do they expect the rest to come from?  And just as I predicted, they now hold $643.73 for false fees, one being $250 for possessing an “emotional support animal”, i.e., my cat.

 

Pet Deposit 03/09/2016 NOT APPROVED CAT FOUND IN APT NOT APPROVED $250.00 $800.73

Total Unpaid

$643.73

Deposit Held

$750.00

Prepayments

$0.00

Other fees they are holding are for:

Repairs 08/06/2015 Glass door knob $10.33 $204.73
Payment 08/04/2015 47-027397475 $344.00 $194.40
After Hours Service Call 08/04/2015 Tenant locked in bedroom

“Tenant locked in bedroom.”  It was 1AM. My bedroom door never had workable doorknobs. See video:

On August 4, 2015, I was locked in my bedroom. The reason being is that the old doorknobs that were in my bedroom door since Day #1 when I moved in, February 8, 2013. These doorknobs never worked in my bedroom door. If you closed the door all the way, I would be locked in. That is what happened on August 4, 2015. I had to call the HFPM maintenance man, Richard Majchrzak at 1AM in the morning to unlock me so I could exit my bedroom. If a fire had broken out, there was no way I could open my bedroom door to escape. However, HFPM billed me $103.68 for the maintenance man to come & let me out. HFPM billed me $10.33 to pay for the new doorknob. Richard knows that the door knobs were wrong. I will need to subpoena Mr. Majchrzak to court for his testimony. Here is a video of what my bedroom door knobs looked like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGbrpN_4sZw

 

Cleaning and Maintenance 04/02/2014 reset breaker multiple times do to tenant overloading circuits – tenant billed $90.72 $570.72

So, the response from Michelle Wheeler for still holding my $643.73 out of $750 deposit? “Maintenance and repairs are a separate matter”

Read this:

On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 2:41 PM, Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com> wrote:

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

Harry;  If your May rent is not paid by Tuesday 5/31/16. Eviction will be filed 6/1/16. Your section 8 worker has been copied in on this email.

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On May 24, 2016, myself & Michelle Wheeler received this letter from Steven I. Cooper, LCSW-R, BCD:

May 24, 2016

High Falls Property Management

Michelle Wheeler, Property Manager

2255 Lyell Avenue, Suite #201

Rochester, NY 14606

Re: Harry Davis

Dear Ms. Wheeler:

I am a NYS licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New York and have been in an independent private practice for over 15 years. My practice is limited to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of adults and couples who are struggling with various mental health concerns.   I am writing on behalf of Mr. Davis who has been seen by me for evaluation of his mental health concerns. He contacted me presenting with depressive and anxiety sx., as well as physical limitations from near total foot amputations as a result of p/ bacterial meningitis. He has a generalized anxiety disorder. Mr. Davis suffers from a broad range of symptoms as a result of this. These include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, chronic fatigue, inability to experience pleasure in his life, early and middle insomnia, appetite changes, worry, nervousness, tension and irritability.

Mr. Davis has had a previous existing rel with a cat of his that has served as a companion and for emotional support. In situations like Mr. Davis’s a beloved pet provides the comfort and relief from isolation and other symptoms that result from his conditions. This pet would also enhance his ability to use and enjoy the dwelling you provide for him as well as support his own independence as he will be caring for the cat. I believe a cat may meet the criteria of an emotional support animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus I am asking for your consideration in providing him reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing and Rehabilitation Act as well as the ADA, and permitting him to have his cat back as an emotional support animal.If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call.

Sincerely,

Steven I Cooper, LCSW-R, BCD

NYS Licensed Clinical Social Worker

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In response to the letter from Steven Cooper, I received this email from Michelle Wheeler on May 31, 2016:

May 31 at 6:05pm · 
Michelle Wheeler
Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com>
4:13 PM (1 hour ago)
to Alex, me, Colleen, Julie, Nicole

Harry,

This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution. I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.

Regarding the maintenance items, you are billed per your lease regardless of whether you agree or not. Section 8 would not allow you to remain in the unit if there was not adequate heat. That is irreverent at this point. It is May 31st and your portion of May rent is unpaid. June rent is due tomorrow.

On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.

There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.Thank you.

……………………………………………………………………..

Notice this:

Michelle Wheeler states: “I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.”

At this point I only owe HFPM May rent, $296.

 

At this point, Michelle Wheeler & collections agent Colleen Porata told me I owed them $800.73. $250 of this amount was billed to me for having a cat!

As evidence of this, we have Michelle Wheeler stating this to me in an email dated May 31, 2016:

On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 2:41 PM, Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com> wrote:

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

Harry;  If your May rent is not paid by Tuesday 5/31/16. Eviction will be filed 6/1/16. Your section 8 worker has been copied in on this email.

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

Harry,

This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution. I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.

Regarding the maintenance items, you are billed per your lease regardless of whether you agree or not. Section 8 would not allow you to remain in the unit if there was not adequate heat. That is irreverent at this point. It is May 31st and your portion of May rent is unpaid. June rent is due tomorrow.

On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.

There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.

Thank you.

I repeat what Michelle Wheeler said to me on May 31:

“Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.”

“Remove the cat to avoid lease termination.”!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I was in eviction court on Wednesday, June 15. Here is my written response which I wanted to be seen by the judge, but was not seen or heard:

Your Honor,

ANSWER TO PETITION LT-004979-16/RO, High Falls Property Management(HFPM)/BCP Real estate against Harry Davis

The ultimate reason for this case is not the rent asked for by the Petitioner but it is really about removing me as a tenant because the landlord refuses to allow a “reasonable accommodation” for an “Emotional Support Animal.”

The “no pet” policy is unlawful under Section 8 funding.

I am asking you to postpone this case for three weeks. I was notified of this event on Thursday, June 9, 2016. Today is Wednesday, June 15, 2016, a mere 3 business days to prepare. My attorney, Douglas Fisher, has not had any time to prepare for this case. He is currently 100% occupied with a previous case but I do want him to defend me in this case. This case deserves a properly prepared response as there are many other issues here to be considered other than the asked for $1002.00.

I am a severely disabled 65 year old male. Most of my feet are amputated. Here is a video of what is left: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZIR4pEpsUE+

I believe HFPM is systematically billing me for charges they are not entitled to charge, running up my ledger with false bills so that they can go to court and say I owe a large amount of money and therefore, they must evict, while saving those fraudulent charges to be taken out of my security deposit. I can prove this point but I must have a little time. The current two months rent that I am here today for could have really been dealt with if I was presented with an honest record of what I owe, rather than the floating charges they have sent me with “3 Day Notices.” To be clear, HFPM engages in dishonest/illegal book-keeping, i.e., provable fraudulent charges to my account in an effort to jack up what they perceive I owe them so they can steal it our of my last month’s rent when they feel they want to ditch me, which appears to be now.

There are 9 documents I am also submitting:

* Rochester Gas & Electric statements documenting multiple closing and re-opening of accounts for Harry Davis. This was done, as RG&E has told me was necessary when they wrote off these accounts when I could not pay the heating bills. The heat is required to be paid by HFPM but obviously, it is not. This covers the time period I have been a tenant of HFPM, from February, 8, 2013 to the present. HFPM has not been providing me adequate heat. I have had to use 2 space heaters and an open, turned on gas oven all 3 winters I have resided at 294 Meigs Street, #5. Using a gas oven to heat is illegal. HFPM are like Walmart who don’t meet their obligations to pay a living wage and make the tax payer pay for food stamps and medical. HFPM is by lease, supposed to pay for my heat but they do not. RG&E has opened & closed several accounts of mine; they write off the debt. We need to subpoena the landlord’s electrician and maintenance man to document their visits AND records. They were here all the time when my life was disrupted by 3 months of rewiring and flipping the circuit breakers in 2013.

* A letter dated June 6, 2016 from the Office of the Controller, Monroe County, that states, “Mr. Davis, As you requested, I am sending you information regarding payments made on your behalf by the Department of Human and Health Service from February, 2013 to the present. Payment dates and amounts are listed below.”:

02/25/16: $229.56

02/11/16: $140.00

12/24/15: $35.00

06/11/15: $1,270.30

11/26/14: $385.97

As can be seen in this letter from RG&E, my heat payments paid by HEAP and DSS amount to a total of $2060.83, all of which is owed by HFPM.

*My lease with HFPM. This lease also outlines payment responsibility for heating payments.

* Papers documenting that the cat in question has received all necessary shots and has been spayed.

*A notice of “Termination Of Tenancy” served to me by HFPM on June 2, 2016.

*A letter from my personal physician, Dr. Carlos Swanger, outlining my very, very serious physical disability, i.e., bilateral metatarsal amputation, and more.

*HFPM sent me a final notice for $800.73.

file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Final%20Notice%20-%20Davis%204-20-16%20(3).pdf

which included a greatly inflated amount, $800.73 which also includes a deposit of $250 for a cat which they told me I cannot have and issued a “Termination Of Tenancy”:

Pet Deposit

03/09/2016

NOT APPROVED

CAT FOUND IN APT NOT APPROVED

$250.00

$800.73

*I have included this document, stating in part:
Emotional Support Animals Excepted From “No Pets” Lease Provisions Under Federal Law

In the context of housing discrimination, this statute creates the rule that public housing authorities cannot deny housing to a disabled person solely because of his or her disability, and that if a reasonable accommodation can be made to make housing available to a disabled person, the landlord is required to make the accommodation. [ FN12 ] Even though the statute does not expressly use the phrase “reasonable accommodation,” it has been read into the statute by case law and HUD regulations interpreting the statute.”

https://www.animallaw.info/article/emotional-support-animals-excepted-no-pets-lease-provisions-under-federal-law

*Lastly but possibly most important, a letter from Steven I. Cooper, LCSW-R, BCD, Counseling and Psychotherapy stating the necessity of owning an “Emotional Support Animal”, in my case, a young cat. As Mr. Cooper states, in part: “Thus I am asking for your consideration in providing him reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. As well as the ADA, and permitting him to have his cat back as an emotional support animal.”

I have been a tenant of High Falls Property Management since February 8, 2013. My rent is paid in part by Section 8 as I am severely disabled, my feet are amputated. Rochester Housing/Section 8 pays $554 rent per month. My share, it was just increased this month by $75 is $371. I have a deposit to cover my last month’s rent of $750. If I were to be evicted as HFPM has requested, I would have my Section 8 subsidy permanently terminated, leaving me completely homeless and with no way of attaining housing!

It is my belief, that HFPM/BCP Real Estate has decided they do not want to grant me a “reasonable accommodation” an “emotional support animal” and that is why we are here today in court. By law, the ADA, they must.

Here is a list of issues that deserve a proper response:

  1. reasonable accommodation

My landlord, High Falls Property Management, (not BCP Real Estate) has served me with a “Termination Of Tenancy” notice on June 2, 2016. This was served to me in response I made of the landlord for “reasonable accommodation,” i.e, to allow an “Emotional Support Animal,” in my case a spayed 2 year old cat with all of his shots. When I presented the “Emotional Support Animal” letter from my doctor/licensed social worker, Steven Cooper, this was the response I received from Michelle Wheeler, owner of High Falls Property Management, my landlord:

May 31 at 6:05pm · 
Michelle Wheeler
Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com>
4:13 PM (1 hour ago)
to Alex, me, Colleen, Julie, Nicole
Harry,
This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution.
On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.
There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to ...remove the cat to avoid lease termination.
Thank you.
http://www.highfallspropertymanagement.com/

The “no pet” policy is unlawful under Section 8 funding.

My cat is spayed and has all of it’s shots.

  1. Right of “Quiet Enjoyment”

Quiet Enjoyment

A Covenant that promises that the grantee or tenant of an estate in real property will be able to possess the premises in peace, without disturbance by hostile claimants.

Quiet enjoyment is a right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of real property by at tenant or landowner. The right to quiet enjoyment is contained in covenants concerning real estate. Generally a covenant is an agreement between two parties to do or refrain from doing something.

Courts read a covenant of quiet enjoyment between theLandlord and Tenant into every rental agreement, or tenancy. Thus a renter, or tenant, has the right to quiet enjoyment of the leased premises regardless of whether the rental agreement contains such a covenant.

In the covenant of quiet enjoyment, the landlord promises that during the term of the tenancy no one will disturb the tenant in the tenant’s use and enjoyment of the premises. Quiet enjoyment includes the right to exclude others from the premises,the right to peace and quiet, the right to clean premises, and the right to basic services such as heat and hot water and,for high-rise buildings, elevator service. In many respects the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment is similar to an Implied Warranty of habitability, which warrants that the landlord will keep the leased premises in good repair. For example, the failure to provide heat would be a breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment because the lack of heat would interfere with the tenant’s use of the premises and would also make the premises uninhabitable, especially in a cold climate.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/quiet+enjoyment

re, Heating & Electricity:

When I moved into 294 Meigs Street, #5, Rochester, NY, on February 8, 2013, the electric circuits blew every day because I had to use two space heaters to stay warm. I had to call maintenance to flip the switch very, very frequently. Then they brought in an electrician to rewire the entire apartment. This was against my right of “quiet enjoyment.” My bedroom was in shambles for 2 months. My bed had to be moved all the time while workmen worked all through my apartment for hours on end. A stranger, the electrician was in my house for many, many hours each week for 2 months. After all was done, no heat is still the norm.

Here is my HFPM ledger:

Cleaning and Maintenance

04/02/2014

reset breaker multiple times do to tenant overloading circuits – tenant billed

$90.72

$570.72

re, Non functioning doorknobs which caused a serious danger to my life.

Repairs

08/06/2015

Glass door knob

$10.33

$204.73

Payment

08/04/2015

47-027397475

$344.00

$194.40

After Hours Service Call

08/04/2015

Tenant locked in bedroom

$103.68

$538.4

0

On August 4, 2015, I was locked in my bedroom. The reason being is that the old doorknobs that were in my bedroom door since Day #1 when I moved in, February 8, 2013. These doorknobs never worked in my bedroom door. If you closed the door all the way, I would be locked in. That is what happened on August 4, 2015. I had to call the HFPM maintenance man, Richard Majchrzak at 1AM in the morning to unlock me so I could exit my bedroom. If a fire had broken out, there was no way I could open my bedroom door to escape. However, HFPM billed me $103.68 for the maintenance man to come & let me out. HFPM billed me $10.33 to pay for the new doorknob. Richard knows that the door knobs were wrong. I will need to subpoena Mr. Majchrzak to court for his testimony. Here is a video of what my bedroom door knobs looked like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGbrpN_4sZw

Michelle Wheeler, owner of HFPM, has in the past agreed to resolve these repair issues but then failed to do so.

Michelle Wheeler <Michelle.Wheeler@mail.propertyware.com>

11/10/15

 

Harry,

Attached is your ledger detailing the total balance due. This includes repairs as well as November rent and late fee.

I would really love to help you get this resolved once and for all. I am willing to go to the owner to ask for a partial credit for the repair charges. Please reply to this email with the amount that you are willing to pay towards the maintenance and repairs and I will do what I can to get him to credit the balance.

Please also reply with the date that you will be paying the rent and late fee.

Thank you! 

Kind Regards,

Michelle L. Wheeler 

Office Manager 
2255 Lyell Avenue, Suite 201
Rochester, NY 14606
Office: 585-426-2600
Fax: 585-426-2611
Email: mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com 
 

ErgoBack.com <ergoback@gmail.com>

11/12/15

to Michelle

Hi, Michelle,

I will respond to you today but first, please send me Colleen’s email addy as I must copy her and Section 8 as Colleen keeps sending me texts about “calling section 8.”

With Colleen telling me “my balance is growing”, when in fact it has decreased by Section 8 paying more, we have a serious disconnect due to the illegal charges you put on my account for the basic rights of me having electricity and a bedroom door that does not lock me in, I have no choice but to copy Nikki Allen at Section 8.

Thank you,

Harry Davis

Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com>

11/12/15

to Nicole, me

Colleen contacted you as it is her job as collections agent because your rent which is due on the first is unpaid as is the added late fee and past due maintenance and repairs.

I’ve copied in Nicole on this email. She can discuss your tenant responsibilities with you. We will follow up with a 3 Day Pay or Quit Notice as well.

My email was intended to assist you however it does not appear that this is what you are interested in. Thank you.

Nicole please advise.

Kind Regards,
Michelle Wheeler
Property Manager
NYS Licensed Real Estate Broker
High Falls Property Management, LLC
2255 Lyell Ave, Suite 201
Rochester, NY 14606
(585) 426-2600 x103 Office
(585) 426-2611 Fax
www.highfallspropertymanagement.com

“Be the change in your own life.”

ErgoBack.com <ergoback@gmail.com>

11/12/15

to Paul, Michelle, Nicole

Michelle,

I do understand and appreciate that your email was intended to help. I am interested. Thank you.

“My email was intended to assist you however it does not appear that this is what you are interested in. Thank you.”

As I mentioned, I have to follow up with a video and other docs, from my lease, to show why I do not owe the charges other than rent, that you mention.  I am very busy working and need to attend to these duties before I can gather the docs. I do not think a 3 day notice helps.

Again, I do not owe anything for you to provide me my electricity. If you think I do, please tell me which everyday household appliances that I use that you do not permit.

And as far as the doorknob, if I were to be locked in the bedroom because the door you provided would not open, which I was, I could have been killed. Again, I have no feet! I cannot walk hardly at all. If your doorknob worked as any doorknob is supposed to work, there would have been no need for a house call as I would not have been locked in my bedroom.

Please tell the owner I will have more docs for your review tomorrow.

Also, please tell me Colleen’s email.

Again, I do appreciate living here and intend to continue.

Thank you. Thanks for wanting to help!

Harry

cc. Section 8

Nikki Allen


To sum up, this is not about rent. This is an attempt by the management to avoid having to make an reasonable accommodation for a support animal as provided in the Fair Housing laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The management denied the reasonable accommodations for a support animal so as to avoid having to approve them for anyone in the future. HFPM, sent a rejection letter indicating termination of lease effective July 31th. In that e-mail, not only did not even have the right service that was being requested, they indicated the termination was being done because of the request for the reasonable accommodation for a support animal. The other relevant info is that they have been harassing me for months about fees for services they are to supply—i.e. heating, unacceptable and dangerous wiring, broken doorknobs, broken when I came, and service which is part of the staff responsibility when problems of a possible emergency nature arise and trying to attach additional fees to them. Despite HFPM taking responsibility in the lease to provide heat, I have had to use TWO space heaters AND an open gas stove turned on to get through the cold winters. They have told me they do not care. Again, HFPM is responsible for my heat. Not HEAP! Not me. This is a life-threatening situation I have been in because of circuits blowing from space heaters and a gas stove which is used for heat, which is 100% illegal!

Again, this is not just about rent but that is being used to cover their illegal behaviors of denying reasonable accommodations guaranteed by law.  

 The Fair Housing Act and Companion Animals

You and your assistance animal have rights

What is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prevents discrimination against tenants in their homes.

Under the FHA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities. Even if a lease says “No pets” or restricts pets, landlords are required to make what is called a “reasonable accommodation” to allow pets who serve as assistance animals, which includes animals who provide emotional support. Assistance animals are in a different legal classification than pets who are not assistance animals, which is why pet restrictions and fees are waived for them. They also do not need to be individually trained or certified. Assistance animals are animals that work, assist and/or perform tasks and services for the benefit of a person with a disability or provide emotional support that improves the symptoms of a disability.

Some examples of assistance animals:

  • A cat who can detect when a person with a seizure disorder is about to have one and alerts the person so that he has time to prepare.
  • A dog who alleviates a person’s depression or anxiety. 
  • A cat who reduces a person’s stress-induced pain.
  • A bird who alerts a person with hearing issues when someone has come to the door.

How do I demonstrate that my pet is an assistance animal?

You should provide your landlord with a letter from your doctor/therapist stating you have a disability, and explaining how your pet is needed to help you cope with this disability and/or improves its symptoms. Attach a brief letter from you explaining to the landlord that you are asking for “a reasonable accommodation to keep your pet who functions as an assistance support animal.” There is no official certification or training for assistance animals.

What do I do if my landlord refuses to grant my request for an assistance animal?

Landlords must agree to a reasonable accommodation request if the disability claim is true and if the request does not create a hardship on the landlord or other tenants. If your request for a reasonable accommodation is denied by the landlord, you have the right to request that a government agency investigate your claim that the landlord is discriminating against you.

You have several options for filing a complaint:

  • You can file a discrimination complaint electronically with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Information about the process is located on this HUD webpage

http://m.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/assistance-animals-tenants-rights.html

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Now, to go over recent history, on May 9, 206, I was issued a  “3 Day Notice” by HFPM collections agent, Colleen Porata:

Colleen Porrata <colleen.p@highfallspropertymanagement.com>

AttachmentsMay 9

to me, Julie, Michelle
 Harry;  You have not responded to any voice mails.  Please see attached 3 Day Notice.
(Please copy, paste & click this link)
file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/3DPQ%20Harry%20Davis%20May%202016%20(4).pdf

High Falls Property Management LLC 2255 Lyell Ave, Suite 201 Rochester, NY 14606 Tel. (585) 426-2600 Fax. (585) 426-2611 Dated: 05/10/2016

NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT TO Harry Davis, and all other residents in possession of the premises at the following address: Meigs St , Rochester, NY 14607 PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that according to the terms of your rental agreement, the rent is now due and payable for the above stated address which you currently hold and occupy. Our records indicate that your rental account is delinquent in the amounts itemized below.

Current Unpaid Charges Date Description Ref # Amount Amount Due Amount Paid

08/04/2015 After Hours Service Call Tenant locked in bedroom $103.68 $73.40 $30.28

08/06/2015 Repairs $10.33 $10.33 $0.00

09/07/2015 Late Fee $25.00 $25.00 $0.00

03/09/2016 Pet Deposit NOT APPROVED $250.00 $250.00 $0.00

04/01/2016 Rent Tenant $296.00 $96.00 $200.00

04/07/2016 Late Fee $25.00 $25.00 $0.00

05/01/2016 Rent Tenant $296.00 $296.00 $0.00 05/07/2016 Late Fee $25.00 $25.00 $0.00

You are hereby required to pay said charges in full within 3 days or to remove from and deliver up possession of the above address, or legal proceedings will be instituted against you to recover possession of said premises, to declare the forfeiture of the Lease or Rental Agreement under which you occupy said premises, and to recover all rents due and damages, together with court costs, legal and attorney fees, according to the terms of your Lease or Rental Agreement.

Michelle Wheeler, owner of HFPM, has in the past agreed to resolve these repair issues but then failed to do so.

Michelle Wheeler <Michelle.Wheeler@mail.propertyware.com>

11/10/15

 

Harry,

Attached is your ledger detailing the total balance due. This includes repairs as well as November rent and late fee.

I would really love to help you get this resolved once and for all. I am willing to go to the owner to ask for a partial credit for the repair charges. Please reply to this email with the amount that you are willing to pay towards the maintenance and repairs and I will do what I can to get him to credit the balance.

Please also reply with the date that you will be paying the rent and late fee.

Thank you! 

Kind Regards,

Michelle L. Wheeler 

Office Manager 
2255 Lyell Avenue, Suite 201
Rochester, NY 14606
Office: 585-426-2600
Fax: 585-426-2611
Email: mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com 

re, Heating & Electricity:

When I moved into 294 Meigs Street, #5, Rochester, NY, on February 8, 2013, the electric circuits blew every day because I had to use two space heaters to stay warm. I had to call maintenance to flip the switch very, very frequently. Then they brought in an electrician to rewire the entire apartment. This was against my right of “quiet enjoyment.” My bedroom was in shambles for 2 months. My bed had to be moved all the time while workmen worked all through my apartment for hours on end. A stranger, the electrician was in my house for many, many hours each week for 2 months. After all was done, no heat is still the norm.

Here is my HFPM ledger:

Cleaning and Maintenance

04/02/2014

reset breaker multiple times do to tenant overloading circuits – tenant billed

$90.72

$570.72

re, Non functioning doorknobs which caused a serious danger to my life.

Reairs

08/06/2015

Glass door knob

$10.33

$204.73

Payment

08/04/2015

47-027397475

$344.00

$194.40

After Hours Service Call

08/04/2015

Tenant locked in bedroom

$103.68

$538.4

0

On August 4, 2015, I was locked in my bedroom. The reason being is that the old doorknobs that were in my bedroom door since Day #1 when I moved in, February 8, 2013. These doorknobs never worked in my bedroom door. If you closed the door all the way, I would be locked in. That is what happened on August 4, 2015. I had to call the HFPM maintenance man, Richard Majchrzak at 1AM in the morning to unlock me so I could exit my bedroom. If a fire had broken out, there was no way I could open my bedroom door to escape. However, HFPM billed me $103.68 for the maintenance man to come & let me out. HFPM billed me $10.33 to pay for the new doorknob. Richard knows that the door knobs were wrong. I will need to subpoena Mr. Majchrzak to court for his testimony. Here is a video of what my bedroom door knobs looked like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGbrpN_4sZw

Michelle Wheeler, owner of HFPM, has in the past agreed to resolve these repair issues but then failed to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On February 8, 2013, I, Harry Davis, signed a lease to rent an apartment with Holly Burgio, rental agent for High Falls Property Management. My lease was for a 2 bedroom apartment at 294 Meigs Street, #5, Rochester, NY 14607. It is a month-to-month lease. Rent was $750 per month when I moved in. There was a $750 security deposit also due. I paid both of these before moving in.  My apartment is one of 7 apartments at 294 Meigs Street. I rent the upper unit.

The house is about 100 years old. Before I signed the lease, I asked Ms. Burgio about the heating of the apartment just before I signed the lease. I saw that there was newly installed electric baseboard heating in the bathroom and in the bathroom ONLY. Ms. Burgio told me that “electric baseboard heating will be installed in every room in the apartment within 10 days.” That statement was a lie. On this date, June 22, 2016, there still has not been the promised installation of baseboard heating throughout this apartment. And to make matters worse, there has NEVER been adequate heat in this apartment in the wintertime, NEVER!

Immediately after moving in, with no baseboard heating installed, to heat my apartment, I had to rely on using 3 space heaters and a gas oven turned on to generate heat. This is the way it has been for the three winters I have lived here. And in February, March & April of 2013, my first three months living here, I had to call the HFPM maintenance man, Richard Majchrzak, almost every day to come to flip the switch on the electric circuits because the wiring was totally inadequate!

And next, HFPM brought in an electrician to begin major, major work on completely re-wiring my apartment! This went on day after day, week after week for about two months. This included moving my bed at any time requested for new wires to go in. This was a total disruption of my right to “quiet enjoyment” of my lease. My apartment was ripped apart. The second bedroom I use an an office was also disrupted. I could not get my work done. There was disruption everywhere, all the time!

Richard Majchrzak

 

Item #20 in the lease I signed states:

PROPERTY INSPECTION (SEE MOVE-IN INSPECTION FORM): “Tenants acknowledge that they have inspected the property and accept its current condition. Including all furnishings, fixtures, furniture, plumbing, heating, electrical facilities an d all items within the unit. Tenant acknowledges that all other items provided by the owner are clean and in good satisfactory condition except as may be indicate elsewhere or in the “Move-In Inspection form.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK. It looks like we can make a federal case against High Falls Property Management for discrimination. I have been talking to the Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD federal agency that handles cases like mine having to do with housing issues. We will be filing a complaint that HFPM discriminated against me because they denied my request for an “emotional support animal.”

As evidence of this, we have Michelle Wheeler stating this to me in an email dated May 31, 2016:

On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 2:41 PM, Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com> wrote:

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

Harry;  If your May rent is not paid by Tuesday 5/31/16. Eviction will be filed 6/1/16. Your section 8 worker has been copied in on this email.

Just so we are clear Harry, the eviction filing includes past due rent and late fees (plus court approved legal fees). The maintenance and repairs are a separate matter.

Harry,

This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution. I stated that the eviction filing is for unpaid rent and late fees plus what ever the judge allows for court fees.

Regarding the maintenance items, you are billed per your lease regardless of whether you agree or not. Section 8 would not allow you to remain in the unit if there was not adequate heat. That is irreverent at this point. It is May 31st and your portion of May rent is unpaid. June rent is due tomorrow.

On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.

There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to pay rent and late fees including June in full to avoid eviction court AND remove the cat to avoid lease termination.

Thank you.

May 31 at 6:05pm · 
Michelle Wheeler
Michelle Wheeler <mw.highfallspropertymanagement@gmail.com>
4:13 PM (1 hour ago)
to Alex, me, Colleen, Julie, Nicole
Harry,
This will be my last email to you regarding this, there is no point is emailing back and forth with no resolution.
On another note while all parties are copied in, regardless of the outcome of eviction court, the cat is not approved. We are required to allow service animals not therapy animals. You signed a no pet policy and we are not approving the pet. If the pet is not removed you will be in continued violation of your lease and we will have no choice but to terminate your lease agreement.
There is no need to reply further. Your option at this point is to ...remove the cat to avoid lease termination.
Thank you.

Colleen Porrata

May 31

to me, Michelle, Julie, Alex, Nicole

 

Harry;  Eviction has been filed.  Julie would you like a copy of the eviction referral form?  Please let me know