FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECR
MONDAY, JULY 31, 2000(202) 514-2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
ORANGE COUNTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY SETTLES
DISCRIMINATION SUIT WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Orange County, California management company that allegedly discriminated against African Americans and Hispanics in apartment rentals agreed today to pay $226,000 in damages and civil penalties, the Justice Department announced.
In a complaint, filed together with the agreement in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the Justice Department alleged that Yoder-Shrader Management Company, a large apartment management company discriminated against apartment seekers on the basis of race and national origin, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. It also alleged that they discriminated against families with children.
The complaint asserted that Yoder-Shrader had discriminated at eight of its apartment complexes by either restricting families to certain units within apartment complexes; instructing certain employees that they were not permitted to rent to Hispanic or African-American prospective renters; and, not telling minority apartment-seekers the same information about the availability of rental units as was provided to whites.
"Today's agreement will significantly increase the amount of rental housing that is available to all persons in Orange County regardless of the color of their skin, the country from which they come or the number of children they may have," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will pay a total of $226,000, including, $151,000 to the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, whose complaint led to the initiation of the litigation; at least $65,000 to install children's play equipment at six of their apartment complexes; and, $10,000 in civil penalties.
The company also has agreed to:
- provide fair housing training for its management employees;
- establish a mediation program for the resolution of any future disputes between tenants and management;
- allow the Fair Housing Council to test its compliance with the agreement;
- provide monetary relocation assistance to families who wish to relocate within an apartment complex; and,
- not pass on the cost of the settlement to its tenants by means of rent increases.
Yoder-Shrader's rental practices had initially been investigated by testers from the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, which subsequently filed a complaint against the company with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD investigated the complaint, and concluded that there was reason to believe Yoder-Shrader had engaged in discriminatory housing practices. The matter was then transferred to the Justice Department for litigation.
Yoder-Shrader, who denied liability, manages eleven apartment complexes in Orange County with over 1200 rental units.