There are plenty of headlines related to violations of the Fair Housing Act. We report on Fair Housing violations partly to remind borrowers to know their rights, but also to encourage anyone who has been the victim of violation of federal Fair Housing laws to report them to HUD.
Discrimination in the housing process creates undue burdens on all house hunters. It does not matter what kind of housing you seek, whether or not you are in the house hunting phase or the home loan application phase, etc. Even in cases where the violations occur in relation to rental properties, discrimination hurts the entire industry.
In a 2021 Fair Housing discrimination case, HUD has announced a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with Cascade Village Apartments II in Sacramento, California. This agreement includes the management company, FPI Management, Inc.
The settlement, which was announced in a press release on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s official site, is in response to allegations that the parties named above, “violated the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” according to the HUD press release.
The respondents allegedly failed to offer “language access services to Vietnamese residents and retaliated against a Cascade Village employee for advocating for residents with limited English proficiency to receive oral interpretation services and translated vital documents”.
Housing providers are required by federal law to take “reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access for limited English proficient (LEP) persons” according to the HUD press release. In this case, the discrimination happened at a company that receives federal funding. Fair Housing laws make it a federal crime to discriminate against those who seek housing based on their national origin. It also forbids retaliation against anyone who helps other people to use their fair housing rights.
“Everyone who applies for or lives in HUD-assisted housing should be able to access critical information about that housing, such as the application process, the terms of their lease, and the apartment building’s rules,” said HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanine Worden, who was quoted in the press release, adding, “Language must not be a barrier to accessing affordable housing.”
Worden says that fair housing laws require affordable housing providers to make “important information available to all applicants and tenants, including people whose primary language is not English.”
In many housing discrimination cases, the victims are the only ones who can prevent further abuses–if the victim does not report the problem with HUD, it may continue indefinitely. In this case, an agent at Cascade Village Apartments filed a discrimination complaint.
FPI Management, Inc., will pay $10,000 to the employee who filed the complaint. FPI Management, as part of the agreement, will provide “$20,075 in compensation to residents of the property, with each household receiving $275 as either a check or as a rent credit” according to HUD.
Have you experienced discrimination at any stage of the housing process? File a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints can be filed online at hud.gov/fairhousing.
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