Hikes Point landlords settle family discrimination case for $7,500

Kentucky Fair Housing Council • 436 S. 7th Street • Louisville KY 40203 • 502-583-3247 • Fax: 502-583-3180

Contacts: Tony Baize, Assistant Director
Phone: 502-583-3247
Fax: 502-583-3180

For Immediate Release

(LOUISVILLE, Sept.4, 2003) -- The Kentucky Fair Housing Council and the owners of an apartment building in Louisville’s Hikes Point neighborhood have settled a housing discrimination complaint involving familial status discrimination and advertising for $7,500.  The agreement also calls for the respondents to undergo fair housing training.

The settlement resolves claims filed by the Fair Housing Council in September 2002 alleging that respondents, Bob and Sandra Wilson, violated the Fair Housing Act by placing discriminatory advertisements in the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), a weekly newspaper, and discouraging families with children from renting from them.

The advertisements, which were published in April and July 2002 editions of the LEO, contained the discriminatory wording “ideal for single older person,” and “ideal for 1,” respectively.   Based on the ads, the Council conducted an intensive investigation of the Wilsons’ housing practices.

The Fair Housing Council performed three paired tests of the Wilsons prior to filing a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  All three tests showed evidence of familial status discrimination.  HUD then referred the complaint to the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission (HRC) for investigation.  HRC Compliance Officer Linda Holland was  assigned to the case and served as the conciliator.

Testing revealed that Mrs. Wilson routinely questioned homeseekers about their familial status, and told a pregnant female tester as well as a male tester with a young son that there were “a lot of elderly and retired people” in the building and that there were not any children in the building.  The pregnant female tester was also told that the apartment “may not be what you’re looking for.”

Landlord missed appointment with single mom, ignored attempts to reschedule

Additionally, in at least one test, a tester with a child was given an appointment, but the landlords failed to show up.  The tester tried several times to reschedule the appointment but never received return calls from the Wilsons.

The Wilsons contend that there was no discriminatory intent behind their actions, and they made no admission of any wrongdoing.  The $7,500 settlement amount includes costs for fair housing training conducted by the Council.

There are three complaints pending against LEO for publishing these and other discriminatory advertisements.  A tentative settlement in those complaints has been reached, pending approval by all parties.

In the past three years, the Fair Housing Council has settled discriminatory advertising complaints against BellSouth, the Courier-Journal, the Evansville Courier & Press, the Perry County (IN) News, and several private landlords.  The Council has advertising complaints pending against the New Albany Tribune, the Linton (IN) Daily Citizen, the Maysville Ledger-Independent, the Brown-Noltemeyer Company, and several individual housing providers.

Fair Housing Council v. Wilson et al.
HUD No. 04-02-1408-8; HRC No. C00-HO904