WASHINGTON - Virginia Beach landlord Dr. John Crockett Henry and Henry LLC, have agreed to pay up to $361,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act, the Justice Department announced today.
According to the Department’s lawsuit, filed in July 2007, Dr. Henry and Henry LLC, violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting African-American tenants to inferior terms, conditions or privileges of tenancy. The lawsuit also alleges that Dr. Henry and Henry LLC, violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent apartments to families with three or more children. The defendants own and manage a 30-unit publicly subsidized apartment complex located at number 15, ½ Street in Virginia Beach, Va. At this location, the United States alleges that the defendants’ imposed more restrictive rules and regulations on African-American tenants than other tenants; verbally harassed African-American tenants with racial slurs and epithets; and evicted tenants by enforcing a limit of two children per family at the premises.
“The facts of this case present deplorable violations of the Fair Housing Act. No one should have to come home to a racially hostile and demeaning living environment. Nor should families be subject to harassment or eviction simply because they have children,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute these cases vigorously.”
The consent decree, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., calls for training, a nondiscrimination policy, record keeping and monitoring. In addition, the defendants will pay $84,000 to compensate three former tenants of the defendants, and will establish a $235,000 fund to compensate any additional victims subsequently identified by the United States. The defendants will also pay $42,000 in a civil penalty to the United States. Five other individual victims intervened in the lawsuit, and have reached a separate monetary settlement of their claims against the defendants.
This lawsuit arose as a result of a charge of discrimination issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 245 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, of which 68 have alleged discrimination on the basis of race and 47 have alleged discrimination on the basis of familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt.
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line (1-800-896-7743), e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.