Seattle Area Landlords To Pay $95,000 To Settle Discrimination Complaint

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Seattle Area Landlords To Pay $95,000 To Settle Discrimination Complaint

The owners and manager of three Edmonds, Washington, apartment buildings north of Seattle have reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve a lawsuit filed earlier this year following a discrimination complaint..

The lawsuit alleged that those landlords refused to rent their apartments to families with children, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, according to a release.

The landlords will pay $95,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle the discrimination complaint, according to the release.

Discrimination complaint alleges apartments advertised as adult only

“The settlement resolves a complaint filed by the department in March 2017 which alleged that in March 2014 defendant Debbie A.  Appleby told a woman seeking an apartment for herself, her husband and their one-year-old child that the apartment buildings were “adult only.” The complaint also alleged that defendants advertised their apartments as being in “adult buildings,” according to the release.

“The family filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), which conducted an investigation, issued a charge of discrimination against the defendants, and referred the case to the Justice Department

“Equal access to housing is essential for all Americans, including families with young children,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington said in the release.

 “Particularly in our tight housing market, landlords must follow the law and make units available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status,” she said.

Landlords to pay settlement of $95,000

The three apartment buildings that are the subject of the settlement are located at 201 5th Ave. N., 621 5th Ave. S., and 401 Pine Street in Edmonds, Washington, a northern suburb of Seattle.

They are owned and managed by defendants Debbie A. Appleby, Apple One, LLC, Apple Two, LLC, and Apple Three, LLC, of Stanwood, Washington. According to the settlement agreement, the defendants do not admit they violated the Fair Housing Act.  Under the settlement, the defendants will pay a total monetary settlement of $95,000, comprised of:

  • $35,000 in damages to a family that they turned away because the family had a small child
  • $35,000 that will be used to compensate other families that were harmed by defendants’ practices
  • $25,000 as a civil penalty to the United States
  • Adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices that ensure compliance with Fair Housing Act
  • Submit to record keeping and monitoring requirements for the three-year period of the settlement agreement.

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits apartment owners and managers from denying housing to families because they have children,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the release.  “We will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of discrimination against families with children.”

“No family should be denied a place to live simply because they have a child,” Anna Maria Farias, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in the release. “HUD will continue to work with the Justice Department to ensure that property owners comply with their obligations under the nation’s fair housing laws.”

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.

Resources:

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit with Edmonds, Washington, Landlords

DOJ Settles Familial Status Fair Housing Act Case For $95,000

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