Atlanta-Based Landlords Accused of Discriminating Against Blacks

The Justice Department recently announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of multifamily housing communities in Georgia, alleging that they violated federal fair housing law by intentionally discriminating on the basis of race against African-American applicants for housing.

The lawsuit alleges that from at least 2012 to 2018, the defendants steered African-American housing applicants who are elderly or have a disability away from a predominantly white housing complex to a predominantly African-American housing complex, which is inferior in appearance, location, and amenities to the predominantly white community. Both complexes are located in the same city in Georgia.

The complaint also alleges that the defendants subjected African-American residents who are elderly or have a disability to less favorable rental terms, conditions, and privileges as compared to similarly situated white residents, and denied African-American applicants more desirable units at the predominantly white community.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate alleged victims, civil penalties, and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct, which must be proven in federal court.

“Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act in 1968 to protect Americans from the racially motivated violence and discrimination that has stained our nation’s history. More than five decades later, our nation regrettably continues to suffer the scourge of racial bias,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to fight to protect the rights of all Americans to rent and own their homes without regard to their race.”

“More than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, cases like this demonstrate that there is still work to be done to ensure that all people, regardless of race and color, have equal access to housing,” added U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak for the Northern District of Georgia. “My office will continue to devote resources to investigate and eradicate housing discrimination.”