An apartment complex in California reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay $20,000 due to allegations of discrimination.
The complex, Four Palms Apartments, was accused of discrimination against tenants due to their national origin and familial status. Two related complaints filed with HUD alleged that the manager of the complex made discriminatory statements about Latino residents and prohibited their children from playing outside.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person’s national origin or familial status. This includes discrimination based on a person’s ancestry or country of birth, and discrimination against families with children under the age of 18.
“A family’s right to enjoy their home shouldn’t depend on where they are from or whether they have children,” said Bryan Greene, HUD general deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. “HUD is committed to taking action to ensure the policies and practices of housing providers follow the law.”
In addition to the two complaints filed with HUD from the two families, Project Sentinel, a Santa Clara, California-based fair housing group, filed a complaint on behalf of the residents. The complaint alleged the complex manager repeatedly made statements indicating he did not like having Latino tenants at the property since they did not speak English. He also allegedly accused them of bringing pests, including bed bugs and rats, to the property.
Project Sentinel also alleged the manager prohibited children from playing at the property and enforced overly restrictive rules that singled out children. He also allegedly terminated the lease of one family after their two-year-old cried out as he walked past the door.
The owner will now pay a total of $20,000 under the conciliation agreement, and will revise the complex’s rules to comply with the Fair Housing Act. The property’s manager will also complete fair housing training.