The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it settled another fair housing case, this one for $20,000, to resolve allegations of discrimination based on national origin and familial status. Two related complaints were filed against the community manager of a California property asserting that he made discriminatory statements about Hispanic residents and that the manager prohibited certain children from playing outside.
The case started when two Hispanic couples filed a complaint alleging that the owner and manager of their apartment complex discriminated against them in violation of the Fair Housing Act because of their national origin and because they had children. Additionally, a local California fair housing group filed a supplemental complaint claiming that the manager of the property repeatedly made comments indicating that he did not like having Hispanic residents because they did not speak English as well as accusing the Hispanic residents of bringing pests (including bed bugs and rats) to the property. The supplemental complaint also asserted that the community enforced overly restrictive rules that singled out kids and further that management terminated the lease of one of the Hispanic families after their two year old daughter was heard crying loudly when the manager walked by the family’s door.
In addition to the $20,000 settlement, the Respondents also will undergo fair housing and related sensitivity training. While I remain mindful that there are always at least two sides to every story, allegations like this (to the extent they took place) provide all of us in the apartment management business a guide concerning a practice we absolutely must train our leasing office staff to avoid at all costs. Or you will really need to speak with a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.