N.Y. Owner to Pay $175K to Settle Race Discrimination Case

The owner of a 96-unit community in Rockland County, N.Y., recently settled a federal lawsuit, alleging discrimination against African-American apartment seekers in violation of the Fair Housing Act, according to an announcement by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

As part of the settlement, the community admitted that its former on-site agent gave incorrect or incomplete information to African-American prospective residents about the availability of units, provided an application to a non-African American when a unit was available for rent but not to an African American, and showed available units to non-African Americans but not to African Americans.

The settlement requires the community to pay $150,000 into a victim fund that will be available to compensate people who were harmed by the alleged discriminatory rental practices as well as a civil penalty of $25,000. In addition, the community must implement a nondiscrimination policy of uniform, nondiscriminatory standards and procedures for showing available apartments to prospective residents, educate its employees on federal and state housing discrimination laws, and submit periodic reports to the government containing information about its rental activity. The government will monitor the company’s compliance with the terms of the settlement for a minimum of three years.

U.S. Attorney Bharara stated: "Our office will not tolerate illegal discrimination in housing and will use the power of the Fair Housing Act to pursue those who violate the law. Discrimination based on race or color must be eradicated so that people of all ethnic backgrounds have equal access to the communities in which they seek to live."

Source: U.S. Department of Justice