FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
WITH NEW JERSEY AREA APARTMENT COMPLEX FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH CHILDREN
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced the settlement of a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on familial status by the owners and managers of four apartment complexes in New Jersey: Lodi Court Apartments and Lodi Circle in Lodi, Wayne Kings Arms in Wayne and Hawthorne Gardens in Hawthorne.
The lawsuit alleged that apartment managers violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to families with children. Specifically, the defendants’ rental policy prohibited young children from living in second-floor units.
Under the consent order, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and must still be approved by the court, the owners and managers of the complexes will pay $192,000 to settle the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, they will pay each of the named individuals $24,000 and will contribute $20,000 for the purpose of compensating any additional individuals who suffered as a result of defendants’ discriminatory housing practices. The defendants will also pay a civil penalty of $4,000.
“Under federal law, families with children have the right to equal access to housing,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Settlements such as today’s help ensure that all families enjoy that right.”
As part of the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from discriminating in the rental process against families with children. The agreement also requires defendants to implement non-discriminatory procedures for processing rental applications; display fair housing signs; make periodic reports and submit to testing and/or monitoring to ensure compliance with the agreement; and receive training on the Fair Housing Act.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status (having children under 18 years old), national origin and disability. Since January 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 117 Fair Housing Act cases, including 27 based on familial status discrimination.