Managers and owners of California complex pay $65,000 for anti-children rules and policies

The owners and the management company of an El Monte, California apartment complex have paid $65,000 under a Consent Decree and Court Order to settle a federal lawsuit alleging familial status discrimination. The Defendants also agreed to participate in a comprehensive fair housing training and advertising program to counteract any discrimination they may have been involved in.

The Housing Rights Center of Southern California, along with the families of Daniel and Angela DeLeon, and Bernadette Beserra, sued Tweedy Management Services (TMS) and the property’s owners in federal court, alleging that the defendants discriminated against tenants on the basis of familial status in the operation of the apartment complex.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that defendants enforced an unwritten policy prohibiting children from playing outside. The families had multiple disputes with the TMS over the enforcement of the policy and were evicted.

Along with the payment of $65,000, under the Consent Decree and Order signed by Judge Dickran Tevrizian on April 5, the defendants must participate in a comprehensive two-year program under the court’s jurisdiction. The settlement includes the following terms: 

  • Fair housing training for each defendant;

  • Distribution to all tenants of new, children-neutral house rules written by the Housing Rights Center;

  • Distribution of fair housing pamphlets to all tenants;

  • Family-affirmative advertising; and

  • Display of fair housing posters.

This particular consent decree was the first obtained by the newly merged organization, the Southern California Housing Rights Center (formerly the Fair Housing Council of San Gabriel Valley and the Westside Fair Housing Council), which opened on April 1, 2002 with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and El Monte. The plaintiffs were represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones with the Housing Rights Center and Christopher Brancart of Brancart & Brancart. Defendants were represented by John Selbak.

Fair Housing Council, et. al v.
Tweedy Management Services, et. al
 
Case No. 01-03117 DT (C.D. Cal. 4-05-02)
The Honorable Dickran Tevrizian, Judge