The Justice Department announced today that the manager and owner of the Linden House Apartments in Cleveland have agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve allegations that they refused to rent to individuals because the individuals had children . The settlement must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department on September 30, 2013, against the Zaremba Management Company, the Linden Apartment Company and a property manager who worked at the Linden House Apartments. The United States alleged that the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by maintaining a policy of refusing to rent units at Linden House to families with children. It also alleged that the Linden House Apartments had a policy of evicting tenants or asking tenants to relocate if they had children while living at Linden House. While the Fair Housing Act does allow housing that is reserved for older persons to limit residency to adults under certain circumstances, Linden House did not meet the requirements for this exemption.
The settlement requires the defendants to pay $90,000 to victims of their discriminatory actions, and to pay $10,000 in civil penalties to the United States. The settlement also requires the defendants to remove any restrictions on occupancy by families with children at the Linden House Apartments and to take certain steps such as training employees and reporting to the Department of Justice to make sure that such discriminatory policies are not implemented in the future.
“Finding decent, safe and affordable housing is critical for working families,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division. “Such families should not be turned away from housing merely because they have children.”
“Families deserve the legal right to live where they can, and the Justice Department will continue to protect them from housing discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio.
Fighting illegal discrimination in housing 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 . Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination or have information related to this lawsuit can call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.