HRC Files Race Discrimination Lawsuits in San Fernando Valley
The Housing Rights Center (HRC), as part of its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Private Enforcement Initiative Project, filed two lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against a landlord and a separate private equity firm for violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act.
The FHIP Project, a program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows fair housing organizations to proactively root out and address discrimination, recognizing that housing discrimination is grossly under-reported.
HRC conducted on-site rental testing on apartment buildings owned by a nationwide corporate landowner for race discrimination. One building tested was located near Pierce College in Woodland Hills. In each test, an African American applicant was told no apartments were available to rent at the building, while a Caucasian applicant was shown a vacant apartment moments after the African-American applicant was turned away. The Caucasian applicant was told by the rental agent that the apartment was available immediately.
In the second case, HRC investigated a large apartment building owned by a private equity firm from Orange County for race discrimination. The property, located in Sherman Oaks, was visited by African American and Caucasian persons posing as potential applicants. On each occasion, the African American applicant was told that no apartments would be available for weeks. The Caucasian applicant was shown a vacant unit immediately and told that an apartment would be available in a couple of days.
“These cases demonstrate clear differences in the way African-American and Caucasian applicants were treated, and those differences were based solely on race,” stated Stephanie Knapik, HRC’s FHIP Project Director. “The fair housing laws were created to open doors, not close them.”
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).