The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charged two Tallassee, Alabama landlords with violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for allegedly threatening a white family with eviction after the landlords spotted the tenants chatting with black neighbors in the front yard. According to the September 30, 2008 Charge, the landlords made the following remarks to the tenants, which were captured in tape-recorded phone call conversations:
- "If y'all want to have African-Americans to visit, we're going to ask you to move."
- "This has never happened with any renters that we've had... It's not fine on our property."
- "[W]e're not having those people at our property... [W]e own the property and... that's never happened and we're not going to start today with it happening."
- "We don't want colored people on the property and if you do you should find somewhere else to live."
- "You should live in the projects if you want to interact with those people."
- "I will sell the house if I have to in order to get you out... I don't care if you made a complaint to HUD, you have to move."
Unless either the landlords or the tenants choose to have the matter heard in federal court, the landlords now face a hearing with a HUD administrative law judge, who may award damages for actual loss as a result of the discrimination as well as for emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of civil rights; injunctive and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination; attorneys' fees; and a civil penalty. If the matter does go to federal court, the landlord also risks punitive damages.