New Jersey Landlord's Alleged Refusal To Accept Section 8 Housing Voucher To Cost Him $5K In Damages To Tenant To Resolve Allegation Of Unlawful Housing Discrimination
- Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy and the Division on Civil Rights announced today that a Monmouth County landlord has agreed to pay a woman $5,000 to resolve allegations he refused to rent her an apartment once she indicated her intention to pay using federal Section 8 housing vouchers.
In addition to paying Shakisha Wallace $500 per month for 10 months, attorney Scott Kelly and his company, 374 Sairs Avenue LLC, will be subject under a settlement agreement to monitoring by the Division for two years to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.
Under the agreement, Kelly also must attend a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class focused on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The CLE course must include a module on fair housing laws that is approved by the Division.
Going forward, Kelly and 374 Sairs Avenue, LLC also must keep a detailed record of all prospective tenants who complete applications for rental housing, including their names and contact information, the type of rental unit they sought, whether they were offered an opportunity to rent, and the reason for any applicant rejection.
“This settlement represents a fair resolution to a troubling matter,” said Acting Attorney General Lougy. “The search for safe, affordable housing that meets all of one’s daily needs can be difficult enough without the added obstacle of unlawful discrimination. Hopefully, this case will serve as a message to other [New Jersey] landlords that it’s illegal to refuse public housing assistance vouchers, and that we will hold accountable any landlord who engages in such conduct.”
“Landlords cannot reject otherwise qualified, hard working families who are looking for safe, clean housing and can pay their rent simply because they rely on rent subsidies to make ends meet,” said Division Director Craig T. Sashihara.
“Under New Jersey law, that behavior is no different than rejecting a qualified tenant based solely on his or her race, sexual orientation or religion.”
Go here for the initial charges, and here for the settlement agreement.