The folks at a Clanton, Alabama apartment complex thought they had an effective marketing campaign going. It appears they made efforts to add something they considered desirable to their complex, then used it to promote the complex to prospective tenants. What they probably didn't consider is that if that "something" is related to racism, there's a good chance the federal government will notice and take action.
Sure enough, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week announced it's suing the owner, manager, and maintenance employee of the nine-building, 72-apartment complex for a pattern or practice of violating the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) ban on discrimination based on race and color.
Through the use of testing (sending people to apartment complexes to check for fair housing compliance while posing as prospective tenants), the DOJ allegedly uncovered evidence that the complex:
- adopted rental policies to discourage black people from becoming tenants; and
- used the fact that no tenants at the complex were black as a selling point to market the apartments to white tenants.
The DOJ in its complaint seeks damages, a civil penalty, and an order to prevent continued discrimination at the complex.