WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that the owners and manager of Mountain View Apartments in Longview, Wash., have agreed to pay $12,500 as a civil penalty to settle allegations that they discriminated against families with children in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The settlement must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
"The law protects families with children from discrimination when they are looking for housing," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Particularly in times of economic distress, we must remain vigilant to ensure all individuals have equal access to housing."
"In all our communities, in big cities or small towns, we must ensure equal access to housing. Few things are more fundamental to success and happiness than having a safe place to live," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "This settlement should serve as a warning to other property owners and managers not to discriminate against families with children."
The settlement resolves the Justice Department’s lawsuit, also filed today, which alleges that the owners and operators of Mountain View stated and maintained a policy of not renting apartments to families with children in one or more of the seven buildings at Mountain View. 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 lawsuit names as defendants Marilyn Heim, the manager of Mountain View, as well as the owners of Mountain View: Gene Krause, Sylvia Krause, Richard Trull, Melanie Trull, and their general partnership, Trull and Krause.
In addition to the $12,500 civil penalty, the settlement also requires the defendants to obtain training in the Fair Housing Act for themselves and their employees, adopt a non-discrimination policy making clear that families with children may reside in every building on a non-discriminatory basis, and submit periodic reports to the United States for monitoring purposes.
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 www.usdoj.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 www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing or www.hud.gov/fairhousing.