Mobile Home Park Pays $100K to Settle Charge of Discriminating Against Families
The owners and operators of a Wisconsin mobile home park recently agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a Justice Department lawsuit alleging that they unlawfully excluded families with children from significant portions of their 230-lot mobile home park.
The lawsuit arose as a result of a HUD complaint filed by a single mother and a former resident who had tried to complete the sale of a mobile home in the park. They alleged that community owners and managers refused to approve the application for residency of the single mother who planned to purchase the mobile home and live there with her then-2-year-old child because the home was located in an area of the park where the owners did not allow children. After the lawsuit was filed, her residency was approved and she purchased the mobile home, according to the Justice Department.
Under the settlement, the community agreed to pay $45,000 in damages and rent credits to the two people who filed the HUD complaints; $45,000 into a fund to compensate other alleged victims; and a $10,000 civil penalty. The settlement also requires the community to change its policies to allow families with children throughout the park.
“Unless a mobile home park meets the very specific requirements to be designated housing for older persons, the owner cannot refuse to sell or rent a home to a family because they have a child,” Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “Today’s settlement reaffirms HUD’s determination to work with the Justice Department to ensure that occupancy standards established by housing providers do not violate the Fair Housing Act.”