Southgate Apartment Company and A & G Management Company, the owner and property manager of Southgate Apartments and Townhomes in Glen Burnie, Maryland, refused to renew the lease of a female tenant and her two sons after a reported domestic violence case.
In doing so, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is charging the complex for violating the Fair Housing Act, which makes it unlawful to terminate an individual’s housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.
According to the report, the woman had resided with her two sons in the apartment complex for several years without incident. One evening, her then boyfriend came to her unit and, after a brief argument, stabbed the woman and her 18-year-old son, who had attempted to aid his mother.
After spending several days in the hospital and returning home, she was issued a 30-day notice to vacate, which asserted that she had violated her lease because police had to be called to her home in response to “domestic issues and weapons being discharged.”
Jessica Huseman, a previous HousingWire reporter, wrote a blog back in Feb. 20, 2012 over a similar HUD case about a Mississippi apartment complex that discriminated against a woman when it kicked her out after she called police to report she was a victim of domestic violence.
Escatawpa Village Apartments in Moss Point, Miss., evicted two different victims of domestic violence based on a clause in their leases that requires anyone “who commits a drug violation or domestic violence to vacate the leased unit permanently,” according to documents released by HUD.
The policy seems discriminatory on its face. It could also pressure women to keep instances of domestic violence secret, for fear they will be kicked out of their homes.
“Survivors of domestic violence, who often have to fight for their lives, shouldn’t have to fight to keep their housing,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to working to ensure that women and children are not unlawfully forced from their homes because they were physically abused.”
Brandon Friedman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, sent this tweet earlier expressing his opinion on the matter in Maryland.
Know what's not ok? Evicting victims of domestic violence from apartments because all the cop visits are a nuisance. http://t.co/zWzNHqvrfs— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) October 31, 2014