Arizona AG Announces Record Fair Housing Settlement
The owners and managers of an Arizona community recently agreed to pay $227,500 to resolve allegations of discrimination against an Egyptian couple based on race, national origin, and religion under the Arizona Fair Housing Act. In announcing the settlement, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said that it was the largest settlement of a fair housing lawsuit in the Civil Rights Division’s history.
The lawsuit was filed against a Texas-based community owner and related entities concerning their operation of a Tempe apartment community in 2006. According to the complaint, the community discriminated against the couple because of their race (Arab), national origin (Egyptian), and religion (Muslim) by complicating the application process to discourage them from renting and by inspecting their unit and their possessions without justification or permission while they were in the process of moving into the community. The couple also accused the community’s agents of failing to respond to their requests for repairs to their unit, and alleged that when they complained about discriminatory treatment, the property manager initiated eviction proceedings against them.
Under the settlement, the community will pay $197,500 to the couple and $30,000 to the Attorney General’s Office to enforce civil rights laws in Arizona. The settlement did not constitute an admission of any wrongdoing by the entities, which are no longer operating apartment communities in Arizona.
“Housing discrimination is extremely offensive, and my office will always be vigilant to pursue these kinds of matters,” Horne said in a statement. “Nobody should be denied the opportunity to find housing because of his or her ethnic background, and I am pleased with the results of today’s settlement.”
Source: Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division