A New Jersey condo association will pay $12,500 to a resident who said she was not allowed to remove carpeting to relieve her allergy symptoms.
The state Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday the settlement resolves a disability discrimination complaint between the resident and the Twin Lights Association in Highlands.
Court documents show the resident requested to remove the carpeting in her unit in October 2016 due to multiple food and chemical sensitivities. She included a letter from her physician saying that hardwood flooring would help with her symptoms.
The association denied her request even through its own president recognized the woman’s “legitimate” need.
The association cited a rule that hardwood flooding was not permitted in one-bedroom units and stated that the carpet removal would eradicate a sound attenuating buffer between the unit and dwelling below. But her downstairs neighbor had no objections to the request.
Prosecutors said the association will allow the resident to install hardwood floors as part of the settlement, noting that the board can require the installation of a sound-dampening underlay.
A Twin Lights representative says they will speak with an attorney before commenting.
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said condominium and homeowner associations must honor the requests of residents who have medically-documented needs.
“This case should serve as a reminder to condominium and homeowner associations across the state that the LAD was created to protect the rights of people with disabilities,” he said. “We are committed to upholding those rights, and any condominium association, co-op, homeowners’ association or individual landlord who violates those rights will be held accountable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.