Couple pays $30,000 in familial status case

Contact:  Cynthia Ingebretson, Fair Housing Council of Oregon


     A Portland, Ore., couple accused of discriminating against foster parents has 

receive fair housing training.  Martin and Helen Enyeart will also amend their rental agreements to include language notifying tenants of their rights under fair housing laws.
     The Enyearts rented a three-bedroom house to a single man, Fie Wash, and a two- bedroom house to a single woman, Joyce King in Portland. Both rental agreements limited the number of children and adults that were allowed to occupy the homes.
     Before renting the house, Mr. Wash told Mr. Enyeart he was a foster parent through the Boys and Girls Aid Society. Mr. Wash alleged that Mr. Enyeart expressed displeasure about the foster parenting arrangement but later relented and allowed Mr. Wash to move in with his foster children. However, in the rental agreement Mr. and Mrs. Enyeart limited the number of foster children that Mr. Wash could have at the house.
     Ms. King was a friend of Mr. Wash, learned about the foster parenting program from him, and decided to apply to the Boys and Girls Aid Society to become a foster parent. After Ms. King was trained and qualified for the program, she informed Mr. Enyeart about her plans to become a foster parent. According to Ms. King, the landlord did not discourage her or tell Ms. King that she would be violating her rental agreement.
     Two months  after the foster boys moved in, Mr. Enyeart told Ms. King that the boys would have to go. She said that the landlord denied any prior knowledge about the foster children and that he told Ms. King and Mr. Wash that he did not want all of his homes to be boarding homes. According to Boys and Girls Aid Society staff, Mr. and Mrs. Enyeart then repeatedly contacted the Boys and Girls Aid Society and told them that the foster children had to be removed. Finally Mr. and Ms. Enyeart sent letters terminating Ms. King’s and Mr. Wash’s tenancies.
     Ms. King contacted Multnomah County Legal Aid, who referred the case to Dennis Steinman, a member of the attorney referral program of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon. Following a demand letter and negotiations, the parties entered a settlement agreement in which Mr. and Ms. Enyeart agreed to pay the plaintiffs $30,000, to receive training in fair housing law, and to amend their rental agreements by eliminating language about adults and children and by including a clause that informs tenants of their rights under fair housing laws.
     The Enyearts expressly deny liability for any claims.
     In a separate case, Steinman recently settled a fair housing case in Portland for an undisclosed amount in five figures. The issue in the case was the landlord’s refusal to allow an individual the right to have a companion animal that the home seeker needed because of a disability. The landlord’s refusal was based, in large part, on the species of the animal.