Along with payment of $15,000 to HRC, the defendants must participate in a two-year program under the courts supervision. Additional terms include reformatting the website to prohibit inclusion of discriminatory words or phrases; mailing a copy of Westside Rental Connections anti-discrimination policy to all landlords in its database; stating in any advertisement that Westside Rental Connection is an Equal Housing Opportunity provider; mandatory fair housing training for owners and at least forty employees; posting of fair housing signs in each office operated by the Westside Rental Connection; providing each employee with a copy of the Consent Decree; and providing HRC a permanent no-cost membership with Westside Rental Connections rental search services, which HRC will use for monitoring and testing purposes.
The Housing Rights Center ("HRC") filed suit against Westside Rental Connection ("Westside Rentals") after the website service published numerous rental advertisements demonstrating preferences based on familial status (e.g. "Children not preferred") and source of income. Los Angeles and Orange County landlords post over 14,000 rental listings each day on Westside Rentals web site.
Pop-up box will warn landlords about discrimination
The pop-up box on the web site is a very interesting settlement term. The wording of the pop-up message reads: "All submissions are subject to the federal and California fair housing laws which make it illegal to indicate in any advertisement any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, familial status (e.g. "No children" or "Not suitable for Children"), sexual orientation, ancestry, marital status, or source of income (e.g. "No Section 8"). Your local jurisdiction may impose additional requirements."
The HRC was represented by Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones. The defendants were represented by Louis Chao of Sabaitis & OCallaghan.
FHC of San Gabriel Valley v. Westside Rentals, et al.
Case No. 02-02283 DT
Gary Rhoades and Danielle Jones,
Attorneys for Plaintiffs