WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Justice Department announced that the corporate owner and agent of Gentle Manor Estates have agreed to pay $130,000 to settle a Justice Department lawsuit alleging familial status discrimination. The settlement must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
The lawsuit, filed in May 2015, alleged that Gentle Manor Estates LLC and John Townsend violated the Fair Housing Act by maintaining and enforcing a discriminatory policy of refusing to allow families with children to live at Gentle Manor Estates, a 173-lot mobile home park in Crown Point, Indiana. The allegations were based on evidence generated by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.
“The Fair Housing Act guarantees families with children the right to choose a home without facing unlawful barriers of discrimination,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to ensure that equal access to housing – a bedrock of the American dream – remains a reality for all families in our country.”
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the defendants must pay $100,000 into a settlement fund to compensate victims of discrimination and an additional $30,000 to the government as a civil penalty. In addition, the proposed settlement requires the defendants to implement a nondiscrimination policy, establish new nondiscriminatory application and rental procedures and undergo training on the Fair Housing Act. Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against by Gentle Manor Estates because they have children should call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox number 9994 or email the department at fairhousing (at) usdoj (dot) govEmail links icon.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt/.