Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 10, 2015

Justice Department Sues Nevada Housing Provider for Discriminating Against Families with Children

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owners of rental properties in Carson City, Nevada, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act.  The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, charges that Betty Brinson and Hughston Brinson, the owners of a single-family rental home, discriminated against families with children by placing a series of advertisements in the local newspaper indicating a preference for adult tenants, and by refusing to rent the home to a family with three children because they did not want children living at the property.  The suit also alleges that Ms. Brinson placed discriminatory advertisements for another property she owns – a 36-unit apartment complex – indicating a preference for adult tenants.

The lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the family who alleged they were refused the opportunity to rent the single-family home because they were a family with children.  After HUD investigated the complaint, it issued a charge of discrimination and the matter was referred to the Justice Department.

The lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in future unlawful discrimination.  It also seeks the payment of a civil penalty and monetary damages for individuals who were refused the opportunity to rent because their children would be living with them.

“The Fair Housing Act includes important protections for families with children,” said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to ensure that families with children do not face discrimination in the housing market and have equal access to housing opportunities.”  

“For more than 25 years, the Fair Housing Act has made it illegal for families to be denied housing based on policies that discriminate against children,” said Gustavo Velasquez, Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office.  “HUD will continue to work with the Justice Department to vigorously enforce fair housing laws that protect the right of families with children to live where they choose.”

Fighting illegal housing discrimination 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.  Visit www.usdoj.gov/crt for more information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces.  Additional information about the Fair Housing Act is available at www.HUD.gov.  

Updated August 4, 2015