Here is another example of a recent Fair Housing Act lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”). I try to post case summaries in order to provide timely updates to real estate professionals about the "dos and don'ts" under the Fair Housing Act, since fair housing is such an important issue.
This afternoon (July 21, 2009), the DOJ filed a lawsuit against the owner and employees of Rolling Oaks Apartments, a 72-unit complex in Clanton, Alabama, for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating on the basis of race or color in the rental of apartments.
The lawsuit alleges that the employees told white testers that a selling point of Rolling Oaks Apartments was the lack of African American tenants and that they had adopted rental policies intended to discourage African American rental applicants. The lawsuit is based on evidence generated by the DOJ’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices. The complaint also named the owner of the apartment complex.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for those harmed by the defendants’ actions, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination. The lawsuit is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in court. I will try to follow this case and provide an update when the case is resolved.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice
It is important for all real estate professionals to remember that the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.
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