Management Company Settles Claim of Discrimination Against Non-English Speakers
In January 2013, HUD announced that a Virginia property management company agreed to pay $82,500 to settle allegations that it refused to allow an Hispanic woman to apply for an apartment because she didn’t speak fluent English.
According to the woman’s complaint, the company refused to give her a rental application because she couldn’t speak English well and refused the translation assistance of the bilingual person she brought with her. During its investigation, HUD allegedly found that the company had a written policy expressly requiring all prospective residents to be able to communicate with management staff in English without assistance from others, and to complete rental applications only while they were in the management office.
The settlement requires the company to pay $7,500 to the woman and $25,000 each to three fair housing organizations. Among other things, the company also agreed to adopt a plan to more effectively serve Limited English Proficient residents and prospective tenants by providing translation and interpretation services.
“Denying housing because a person does not speak English well violates the Fair Housing Act,” John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “This settlement reaffirms HUD’s commitment to combating discrimination against a person because of their national origin or the language they speak.”
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