Saturday, June 06, 2015

Civil Rights Feds Hit Indiana Mobile Home Park Owner With Suit Alleging Failure To Allow Families w/ Children To Live On Premises In Violation Of Fair Housing Act; Action Triggered By Information Obtained By Housing Testers Posing As Renters

In Washington, D.C., the U.S Department of Justice recently announced:
  • The Justice Department [] filed a lawsuit against the corporate owner and agent of the Gentle Manor Estates, a 173-lot mobile home park located in Crown Point, Indiana, for discriminating against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

    The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, alleges that Gentle Manor Estates, LLC and John Townsend, the corporate owner and agent, respectively, of the Gentle Manor Estates, violated the Fair Housing Act by maintaining and enforcing a discriminatory policy of refusing to allow families with children to live at the mobile home park.

    The allegations are based on evidence generated by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.(1)

    ***

    The lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in future unlawful discrimination. It also seeks the payment of a civil penalty and monetary damages for the individuals who were refused the opportunity to rent at Gentle Manor Estates because of familial status.

    Individuals who may have information related to this lawsuit should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 9994, or e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt.

    The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.
Source: Justice Department Charges Owner of Indiana Mobile Home Park with Discrimination Against Families with Children.

For the lawsuit, see USA v. Gentle Manor Estates, LLC.

(1) In the lawsuit, the Feds describe "testing" as "a simulation of a housing transaction that compares responses given by housing providers to different types of home-seekers to determine whether illegal discrimination is occurring."

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