The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today against the homeowner’s association, management company and property manager of a Minnetonka, Minn., condominium complex, alleging that they discriminated against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“Families with children should have the same ability to enjoy their homes as all other tenants,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department is committed to enforcing the Fair Housing Act and ensuring that housing providers do not enact policies that discriminate against tenants or deprive tenants of certain amenities due to their familial status.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, involves the Condominiums of Greenbrier Village, a six-building complex that contains approximately 462 condominium units. The lawsuit alleges that the Greenbrier Village homeowners association, property management company Gassen Company Inc. and Gassen employee Diane Brown adopted and enforced policies that discriminatorily limited or prohibited children from playing in the complex’s common grounds.
This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by one family with children who lives at Greenbrier Village. After HUD investigated the complaint, it issued a charge of discrimination and the matter was referred to the department.
“Housing providers cannot impose more restrictive policies on families with children or evict them simply because their children leave the unit,” said HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Bryan Greene for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD and DOJ are committed to enforcing the fair housing rights of all people, including families with children.”
The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the defendants, monetary damages for those harmed by the defendants’ actions and a civil penalty.
“Each person is entitled to fair treatment under the law, a foundation for all thriving communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John R. Marti of the District of Minnesota. “Unfortunately, families with children may be confronted with discrimination in housing. The Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office will intervene to obtain fair treatment for all Minnesotans.”
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. Individ uals who believe they may have been victims of housing discrimination may contact the department at 1-800-896-7743 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or through www.hud.gov/fairhousing .
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations still must be proven in federal court.