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Calls to Action

Utah Mom, Rental Complex Spar Over 'Noisy' Child With Autism

October 31, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY (October 31, 2013) --- A Salt Lake City TV station has come to the rescue of a single mom living in an apartment complex who was threatened with repeated eviction notices due to her son with autism.

Virginia Emery, who rents an apartment in suburban Cottonwood Heights, told KSL-TV that almost immediately after she moved in with her seven-year-old son who has autism, she received eviction notices because of noise complaints. Emery said she had made clear before renting the apartment that her son had autism.

After repeated episodes, Emery contacted KSL-TV's investigative team which reached out to the Utah Labor Commission, the state agency responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act in Utah.

 "You have the neighbor who has the right to enjoy a quiet home environment," Fair Housing Manager Dan Singer told KSL. "But you also have this individual with a disability. And we'd want to know if other people that have been noisy, are they given notices to vacate right away?"

As a result of the investigation, the apartment management withdrew the eviction notice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah has the highest rate of autism of any state in the nation.

In a similar case earlier this year, a Charleston, WV landlord required a prospective renter to obtain $1 million in liability insurance as a condition for moving in with her 48-year-old brother who has autism. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development prosecuted the landlord for discrimination and its fines were upheld by a federal appeals court.