Landlord Slapped for Immigration Inquiry

The federal government announced that it has reached an agreement with a property owner and his management company settling allegations that they maintained a policy of discriminating against prospective tenants based on national origin.

This landlord owns 9,406 housing units at 264 properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Specifically, HUD alleged that prospective Hispanic tenants were required to document their citizenship or immigration status, but non-Hispanic applicants were not asked to do so.

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to impose different rental terms and conditions based on national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

The settlement stems from a complaint initiated by HUD after a local housing center in Alabama reported that it had conducted suggested discrimination at the property. In one test, the property manager allegedly asked a tester who was posing as a prospective tenant whether she was Hispanic. When the tester replied that she was Hispanic, the manager allegedly required that the tester produce a green card or work visa. The manager also allegedly required the same identification from the prospective tenants mother and two sons.

Under the settlement agreement, the landlord agrees to adopt non-discriminatory admission policies, develop a plan to market housing opportunities to populations with limited English proficiency in its service areas and provide translation services, and administer fair housing training to its employees and contractors.

The landlord will also donate $5,000 to the local housing agency to support fair housing enforcement and education, donate $5,000 to a local Alabama non-profit organization that serves the Latino community, and conduct periodic testing to ensure that it is providing its services to every applicant equally, regardless of national origin.

The settlement agreement is not an admission of any violation of the Fair Housing Act. According to HUD, the landlord voluntarily entered into the settlement agreement to demonstrate its commitment to conduct its housing programs and activities in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
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