Newspaper Sued Over Rental Ads

Daily Newspaper shutterstock_1272343108The Penny Pincher, a weekly want-ad newspaper distributed along Mississippis Gulf Coast, has agreed to pay $15,000 to the federal government for publishing 10 advertisements for rental housing that prohibited children.

“Housing discrimination against families with children is a problem that newspapers must not perpetuate by publishing discriminatory advertising, said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.”

“Aggressive enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to prevent discrimination against families with children remains a priority of my office, said John Dowdy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

This lawsuit resulted from a complaint filed with HUD by a fair housing group on behalf of a woman with three children who was searching for housing for her family. The womans search led her to Penny Pincher, in which she read an ad offering a house for rent with the proviso, no children.

She contacted the fair housing group, Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center, which conducted testing of the property advertised and monitored the advertisements published by Penny Pincher.

After HUD investigated the complaints, it issued three charges of discrimination, and the matters were referred to the Justice Department.

Under the settlement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court, Penny Pincher will pay $10,000 in damages to Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center, $1,500 in damages to the individual affected by the ad and $3,500 in a civil penalty to the United States.

The settlement also requires Penny Pincher to adopt a non-discrimination policy, to provide its employees with fair housing training, and to provide periodic reports to the Justice Department. The case continues against other defendants.

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