WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owner and employees of Rolling Oaks Apartments, a 72-unit complex in Clanton, Ala., for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating on the basis of race or color in the rental of apartments.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleges that the employees, Kenneth R. Scott and Frankie L. Roberson, told white testers that a selling point of Rolling Oaks Apartments was the lack of African American tenants and that they had adopted rental policies intended to discourage African American rental applicants. The allegations are based on evidence generated by the Department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices. The complaint also names Chandi Biswas, the owner of the complex.
"When housing providers tell renters that they have a preference for a particular race or color, they are blatantly practicing housing discrimination and creating an intolerable condition for all," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of all the fair housing laws."
The suit seeks monetary damages for those harmed by the defendants’ actions, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination.
Individuals who may have information related to this lawsuit should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, mail box number 6. Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.