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Lawsuit Claims Fair Housing Violations for Reporters Wording

 

A non-profit organization in Idaho is suing the developer of a condominium association, claiming the company and its real estate firm violated federal housing discrimination laws two years after the council explicitly warned the developer about the marketing of the condo project.

The suit alleges that the companies violated the Fair Housing Act by Judgepitching the development as an “active adult community” and discouraging families with children from living there.

It also says the development maintained an unlawful restriction on group homes that would serve the mentally and physically disabled.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on familial status or persons with handicaps in the sale and rental of homes. Court papers say the developer described the property as “a 42-unit ˜empty nester’ subdivision” in a local newspaper article.

After a backlash, the developer told the non-profit organization that the term “empty nester” was “the reporter’s choice of words” and that the development was open to families with minor children and not age-restricted, court papers say. He also said the property would include a playground, even though the site plans didn’t include one.

However, afterwards, a tester met with an agent who was handling the sale of the units at the time. The suit claims that agent made discriminatory statements, such as “we prefer people 55 and over,” and noted that the complex does not have a playground. She also provided a list of rules that included a prohibition on swing sets, unaccompanied minor children using the pool, and teenage parties at the community center.

The suit is seeking $56,000 in actual and punitive damages and $34,500 in other expenses. It also asks for the establishment of a $273,500 victims’ compensation fund to repay unidentified victims.

Thanks to Property Manager Wallace C. Gibson, CPM, GRI, of Gibson Management Group, Ltd in Virginia for this submission.
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