FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2005
(Los Angeles, CA) The Housing Rights Center (HRC) and an aggrieved family obtained a settlement agreement with the owner of an apartment building in Pasadena, California. Plaintiffs alleged that the owner and manager discriminated against African American tenants and families with children. The case was resolved when the owners agreed to enter into a Consent Decree and paid the plaintiffs $70,000.
The plaintiffs were an African American family consisting of one adult and two children. The family was harassed and threatened by the manager of the complex and reported that, on numerous occasions, the manager brandished a gun with the intent to intimidate them. The plaintiffs also alleged that the manager subjected them to racial epithets. Following these acts of harassment, the plaintiff-family was served with an unlawful detainer and was forced to move out of the complex.
The plaintiff-family contacted the HRC to report the discrimination at the apartment complex. HRC and the family filed a lawsuit in federal district court, and these parties obtained a settlement in the amount of $70,000 and entry of Consent Decree and Final Order before the case was actively litigated. The Consent Decree requires the owners and their agents to attend a fair housing management training and allows HRC to monitor the property for three years.
Frances Espinoza, Executive Director of the HRC, responded to the settlement: The facts of this case are truly shocking, and they highlight the fact that harassment of tenants based on their protected characteristics occurs in our communities. This outcome sends a clear message to property owners that if they do not supervise the management companies and managers they hire, they will face legal consequences.
The Housing Rights Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to actively supporting and promoting freedom of residence through education, advocacy, and litigation, to the end that all persons have the opportunity to secure the housing they desire and can afford, without regard to their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, familial status, marital status, disability, ancestry, age, source of income or other characteristics protected by law.
Attorneys for the Plaintiffs were Nisha Vyas, Connie Chung, and Liam Garland of the Housing Rights Center in Los Angeles, California.
For additional information about this case, or other housing discrimination issues, please contact Frances Espinoza at the Housing Rights Center at (213) 387-8400.