WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against an Atlanta condominium association, as well as the owner of a unit and the real estate agent who sold it, for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against families with children.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, charges that the Georgian Manor Condominium Association maintained policies discouraging families with children from living in the Georgian Manor complex, located at 3648 Peachtree Road in Atlanta. It also charges that the owner of a unit in the complex refused to sell to families with children and that the real estate agents hired to sell the unit, Jennifer Sherrouse and Harry Norman Realtors, publicized the restriction.
"Housing discrimination against families with children has been illegal for more than 20 years, but remains a persistent problem across the country" said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "We will continue to prosecute discrimination against families with children."
This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by a fair housing group. The group encountered language in a real-estate listing for Georgian Manor stating "No pets or children." After an investigation of the complaint, HUD issued a charge of discrimination and the defendants elected to have the case heard in federal court.
"Real estate advertising stating 'No children' is prohibited by federal protections for families with children. Together, HUD and the Justice Department will vigorously enforce the law," stated John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity. "This lawsuit serves to educate the real estate professionals and landlords about the rights and responsibilities under the federal Fair Housing Act."
The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the defendants, monetary damages for the complainants and a civil penalty. It also seeks monetary damages for other persons harmed by the defendants’ actions.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can 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.