WASHINGTON – The United States has reached a settlement resolving a housing discrimination lawsuit in Tennessee concerning discrimination against families with children, the Justice Department announced. Under the consent decree, filed today in federal court in Chattanooga, Tenn., defendants Fountainbleau Apartments L.P., Clark W. Taylor Inc., Clark W. Taylor, Jane McElroy, Elizabeth Foster and CWT Management Inc. will pay $131,500 in monetary relief to 15 identified victims and the United States.
The Department’s complaint alleged that the owners, property managers, and management company violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent apartments to persons with children, discouraging persons with children from renting dwellings owned and managed by the defendants, steering persons with children to another apartment complex and making statements that discriminated on the basis of familial status.
"The Fair Housing Act ensures that families searching for a home are protected from discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department will continue to vigorously protect the civil rights of families in Tennessee and across the country."
Under the consent decree, which must be approved by the federal court in Chattanooga, the defendants must pay $116,500 to 15 identified victims of discrimination and an additional $15,000 to the government as a civil penalty. The settlement also calls for numerous corrective measures, including training, a nondiscrimination policy, record keeping and monitoring.
The Department conducted its investigation using fair-housing testers – individuals who pose as renters for purposes of gathering information about possible discriminatory practices in the rental of apartments.
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.justice.gov/crt/. Persons who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination may call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777. More information about the Fair Housing Act can also be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/housing/ or http://www.hud.gov/fairhousing .