King County, WA Settles Cases for $24,500

The King County Office of Civil Rights and Compliance in Washington settled two fair housing cases alleging discrimination against families with children, including one of the largest such settlements reached in the region.

On June 13, 1994, the county obtained $2,000 dollars in damages from the owner, Charles Cosse' and former management personnel of the Canterbury Court Apartments near Lake Forest Park for a family subjected to unlawful discrimination. The owner also paid a $15,000 civil assessment to the county and agreed to abide by certain monitoring conditions including receiving fair housing training. In this case, the manager of the Canterbury Court Apartments told the family that the complex restricted children to the first floor where there were no vacancies.

In the second case which was resolved in February of this year prior to investigation and the entry of a finding, the landlord agreed to pay $7,500 to a family alleging discrimination and follow similar monitoring conditions.

The family alleged that the manager of the Park Sheridan Apartments located just north of Seattle, said they did not rent to couples with children or pregnant women. Evidence gathered during the course of the county's investigation supported the charges.

"Strong families are the backbone of our society, and these settlements will help support families," says King County Executive Gary Locke. "Parents are under enough stress already without being denied the chance to put a roof over their children's heads."

Manny Lee, Administrator of the Office of Civil Rights and Compliance, said "Property owners and managers must realize that we will not tolerate unlawful discrimination of any kind. These settlements will set a benchmark for future cases involving the failure to rent to families with children."

The King County Office of Civil Rights and Compliance enforces the King County civil rights ordinances including the Fair Housing Ordinance. In the last 3 1/2 years, one-third of all fair housing cases filed with the office have alleged discrimination against families.