Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Racism + Mistake = Lawsuit

On May 20, 2008, the Department of Justice sued the owner and manager of the Camp Joy Marina — a Louisiana residential community of rental and owner-occupied condominiums and townhouses — for racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. According to the complaint, the owner and manager interfered with a couple's attempt to sell their townhouse to another couple the owner and manager mistakenly believed were black. Apparently, a visit to the property by the white couple's black realtor confused the owner and manager. The owner told the realtor he did not want "those kind of people" moving in, and he threatened to cut off the water and sewer utilities. As a result of this interference, the buyers withdrew from their agreement to purchase the townhouse. The government now seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the owner and manager and requiring them to pay monetary damages to the sellers as well as a civil penalty.

Will the government win? Will the fact that the owner and manager were mistaken about the purchasers' race be taken into consideration as mitigating circumstances? Should it?

What do you think?

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