Mobile Home Community to Pay $251,500 to Settle Race Discrimination Claims

The owners and operators of an Illinois mobile home community recent agreed to pay $251,500 to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination based on race and familial status, according to the Justice Department.

The case started when the community manager allegedly refused to let an African-American man be added as a resident when he moved in with his white girlfriend and her uncle. Allegedly, he was also subjected to harassment by the manager’s son while staying at the community. According to the family, they had to move out because they were threatened with eviction if the African-American individual didn’t leave. They contacted a fair housing organization, which in turn contacted HUD and the Justice Department.

The Justice Department conducted fair housing testing for racial discrimination. According to the government’s complaint, the testing revealed that the manager treated prospects differently based on their race by, for example, requiring African-American testers to fill out applications while not requiring white testers to do so, asking African-American testers if they had felonies but not asking the same of white testers, informing African-American testers that she would have to inspect their mobile home while not so informing white testers, and quoting higher move-in costs to African-American testers. Until this lawsuit was filed, the Justice Department alleged, there had been no African-American residents at the community since at least 2007, when the manager got the job.

According to the Justice Department, the community also admitted to discriminating against families with children by prohibiting them from living on one of the four rows of lots at the community.

Under the settlement, the community agreed to pay $217,500 in damages and attorney’s fees to alleged victims of discrimination and $34,000 to the government as a civil penalty. The settlement also called for the community to implement a nondiscrimination policy, establish new nondiscriminatory application and rental procedures, and undergo fair housing training.