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HRC Settles $80K Lawsuit on Behalf of Tenants with Children

LOS ANGELES — The Housing Rights Center (HRC) settled a lawsuit on behalf of eight families with minor children who were harassed by the on-site property manager because of their familial status.

The families reported that their children were not allowed to play outside in the common areas, were verbally harassed by the on-site manager, and threatened with eviction if they did not comply with the restrictive rules. Additionally, a seven o’clock evening curfew was enforced at the property after which children were expected to remain indoors.

HRC initiated an investigation which included speaking with tenants currently residing at the property, and those who had moved from the property due to possible familial status discrimination.

The tenants confirmed that rules were enforced only against children while adult tenants, who often congregated and drank in the common areas creating a noise nuisance, were not approached by management. The tenants also reported knowing of other families that had moved out of the property due to the harassment.

HRC identified eight families that had been victims of discrimination and filed a case in the U.S. District Court as familial status discrimination for denial of services to children. Within 60 days of filing the complaint HRC reached an $80,000 settlement on behalf of the eight families.

“This case demonstrates that even when housing providers rent openly to families with children, it does not preclude them from exercising illegal discriminatory policies,” stated Pedro Gonzalez, HRC’s Case Investigator. “Neutral rules are expected to apply to all tenants equally, but once a housing provider isolates a particular group upon which to singularly implement those rules, a discriminatory practice is set in motion.”

HRC investigates over 1,600 housing discrimination complaints annually and assists over 17,000 individuals with their housing-related concerns. Individuals who believe they are victims of housing discrimination or who have questions about the fair housing laws are encouraged to contact HRC for additional information at 1-800-477-5977 (voice) or 213-201-0867 (TTY).

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