Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rejected Prospective Renter Scores $20K In Feds' Housing Discrimination Suit Settlement Over Landlord's Alleged Occupancy Policy That Family's Four Kids Were "Too Many" For 3-Bedroom Apt.

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):

  • The Justice Department announced [] that Marcus Manly Magee III, Ina Magee, and their company, M.M. and S. Inc., have agreed to pay $27,000 to settle a lawsuit involving violations of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants established and implemented an occupancy policy at ­­23 rental properties in Magee, Miss., that differentiated between the maximum number of adults and children who could reside in each home.

    Under the consent order, which was approved [] by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, the defendants must pay $20,000 to a family that was harmed by defendants’ discriminatory practices and $7,000 to the United States as a civil penalty.

    In addition, the order prohibits the defendants from discriminating against families with children in the future, mandates a non-discriminatory occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom, and requires the defendants to receive training on the Fair Housing Act.
  • The lawsuit, filed in November 2011, arose as a result of a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After HUD investigated the complaint, it issued a charge of discrimination and the matter was referred to the Justice Department.

    The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent a three-bedroom home to a woman with four children because she had “too many children” under the defendants’ occupancy policy. The suit also alleged that by setting a lower maximum number of children than adults who could reside in each home, the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination or denied rights protected by the Fair Housing Act to a group of persons.

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