Justice Department Settles Lawsuit with Edmonds, Washington Landlords for Discriminating Against Families with Children
Landlords will pay $95,000 in damages and civil penalties
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with the owners and manager of three Edmonds, Washington apartment buildings to resolve a lawsuit filed earlier this year alleging that those landlords refused to rent their apartments to families with children, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“The Fair Housing Act prohibits apartment owners and managers from denying housing to families because they have children,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of discrimination against families with children.”
“Equal access to housing is essential for all Americans, including families with young children,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington. “Particularly in our tight housing market, landlords must follow the law and make units available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status.”
“No family should be denied a place to live simply because they have a child,” said Anna Maria Farias, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with the Justice Department to ensure that property owners comply with their obligations under the nation’s fair housing laws.”
The three apartment buildings that are the subject of the settlement are located at 201 5th Ave. N., 621 5th Ave. S., and 401 Pine Street in Edmonds, Washington. They are owned and managed by defendants Debbie A. Appleby, Apple One, LLC, Apple Two, LLC, and Apple Three, LLC, of Stanwood, Washington. Under the settlement, the defendants will:
Pay a total monetary settlement of $95,000, comprised of:
$35,000 in damages to a family that they turned away because the family had a small child;
$35,000 that will be used to compensate other families that were harmed by defendants’ practices; and
$25,000 as a civil penalty to the United States;
Adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices that ensure compliance with Fair Housing Act; and
Submit to record keeping and monitoring requirements for the three-year period of the settlement agreement.
Today’s settlement resolves a complaint filed by the department in March 2017 which alleged that in March 2014 defendant Appleby told a woman seeking an apartment for herself, her husband and their one-year-old child that the apartment buildings were “adult only.” The complaint also alleged that defendants advertised their apartments as being in “adult buildings.” The family filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), which conducted an investigation, issued a charge of discrimination against the defendants, and referred the case to the Justice Department
Any individuals who believe they were discriminated against by the defendants because they have children should contact the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-896-7743, Option 96.
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 civil rights laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt and https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwa/civil-rights. Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination may call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or through its website at www.hud.gov.
The case is being jointly handled by Trial Attorney Kathryn Legomsky for the Civil Rights Division for the U.S. Department of Justice, and Assistant United States Attorney and Civil Rights Program Coordinator J. Michael Diaz, for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.