Fair Housing Lawsuit Settled for $82,500

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Education & Training with 123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education School Sponsor 373

Fair housing legal updateHere is another example of a recent Fair Housing Act lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against a housing provider. 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.

Earlier today (Tuesday, July 6, 2010), the owners and operators of Ivanhoe House Apartments, an apartment complex in Ann Arbor, Michigan, agreed to pay $82,500 to settle a fair housing lawsuit filed by the DOJ alleging that they had discriminated against African-American home-seekers.

On March 3, 2010, the DOJ filed the fair housing lawsuit alleging that the apartment complex's property manager had racially discriminated in the rental and inspection of apartments. The case was developed through testing conducted by the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan (a private non-profit organization located in Ann Arbor). The lawsuit was based upon evidence generated by a series of fair housing tests conducted by the Center. In the tests, individuals posed as prospective renters for purposes of determining whether the defendants were providing equal treatment to similarly situated home seekers in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

According to the lawsuit, the testing revealed that the defendants repeatedly and consistently treated African-American apartment-seekers less favorably than white apartment-seekers. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Ivanhoe House Apartments:

  • Denied the availability of apartments for rent or inspection to African-American persons while at the same time telling white persons about apartments available to rent or inspect;
  • Failed to provide African-American persons information about the availability of apartments to rent or inspect that is full, complete, and consistent with the information provided to white persons;
  • Failed to provide to African-American persons the same terms, conditions, or privileges related to the renting of apartments as are provided to white persons; and
  • Refused to accept or process applications by African American persons because of their race or color.

As a result, the DOJ alleged that the defendants had violated the Fair housing Act by:

  • Refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to persons because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  • Discriminating against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental, or in providing services in connection therewith, because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
  • Representing to persons because of race or color that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).

Under the terms of today’s settlement, the defendants are required to pay $35,000 in damages to three victims who were discriminated against because of their race . The defendants are also required to pay $7,500 in a civil penalty to the United States and to and pay $40,000 to the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan as damages for the non-profit’s efforts in testing and investigating the apartment complex. The settlement also requires the defendants and their employees to undergo fair housing training, conduct self-testing of the apartment complex, and provide periodic reports to the DOJ and the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan.

As every real estate professional should already know, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion and familial status.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice press release and legal complaint and settlement documents (portions of press release used with the express permission of the DOJ)

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To learn more about fair housing issues (along with a variety of other real estate topics), please visit us at www.123ConEd.com. We are the leading online provider of Michigan real estate continuing education. All of our courses are fully approved and properly certified by the State of Michigan, and are offered online.

Copyright © 123 ConEd LLC 2010. All rights reserved.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 07/06/2010 12:21 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Michigan Oakland County
Groups:
Michigan Real Estate
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
Greater GRAND RAPIDS, MI Real Estate
Lakeshores of Michigan
West Michigan Real Estate
Tags:
fair housing
legal update
michigan real estate con ed

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Rainmaker
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Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Hopefully this is where people learn. You have to hit them in the pocketbok to get their attention.

Jul 23, 2010 01:05 PM #1
Rainmaker
179,901
Jason Rose
123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education - Farmington Hills, MI
www.123ConEd.com

Thanks for the comment, Robert.  It's amazing that this kind of stuff still goes on!

Jul 24, 2010 05:50 AM #2
Rainmaker
510,181
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Yes Jason there are still folks with their heads in the sand. Like i said above they learn when they pay.

Aug 14, 2010 09:05 AM #3
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Jason Rose

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