The owners of two California apartment complexes will pay a four-figure fine to settle charges that they discriminated against prospective tenants on the basis of their race or national origin.
The settlement, which was announced this week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is between the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County and the owners and property managers of Sierra Vista Apartments and Grand Oaks Apartments in Lake Elsinore, California.
The settlement agreement comes as the result of two complaints filed by the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County with HUD after it fair housing tests of the complexes in question.
The complaints alleged that the owners and managers of Sierra Vista and Grand Oaks Apartments discriminated against prospective tenants because of their race and national origin.
According to the complaints, the alleged discrimination took place during tests conducted by FHCRC. FHCRC alleged that the property managers at the two complexes refused to rent, cited different terms and conditions, and misrepresented the availability of units to testers based on their race and national origin.
Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability.
“Denying someone an apartment because of how they look or where they come from not only deprives them of a home, it is against the law,” said Anna María Farías, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. “Today’s agreement reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that every person, no matter their race or national origin, has access to the housing of their choice.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the owners and property managers will pay FHCRC $8,000, require that their employees take fair housing training, amend their rental qualification criteria to remove the requirement that applicants have “No Criminal or Police Record of Any Kind,” and develop and implement a nondiscriminatory criminal record policy.