A Lancaster, Pennsylvania landlord will pay $12,000 to a nonprofit serving immigrants to settle a lawsuit that he discriminated against immigrant tenants.
The charges came after HUD received a complaint that the landlord’s staff allegedly failed to renew the leases of three Burmese families because of their national origin, and made statements to various people that the group would no longer accept rental referrals from a charity which aids refugees. The landlord denies these allegations.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to deny housing or impose different rental terms and conditions based on disability, race, national origin, color, religion, sex, or familial status.
“America’s protection of refugees fleeing persecution from abroad includes ensuring protection against housing discrimination here,” said John Trasviña, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to take action against housing providers that unlawfully deny housing to families because of their national origin.”
According to the charges, three Burmese families were notified by the landlord that their leases were not being renewed because of alleged lease violations. HUD’s investigation showed that only the Burmese tenants received lease non-renewal letters, even though the company had similar concerns about other tenants.
In addition, the landlord’s staff allegedly told a refugee advocate group and HUD investigators that the company would no longer rent to refugees.
Under the terms of the agreement, the landlord will donate $12,000 to the refuge charity, provide fair housing training for all leasing employees, and include the phrase “Equal Housing Opportunity” or the fair housing logo in all newspaper and other rental advertisements.
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