Tenants’ Rights Spotlight: Northern California Tenants’ Lawyer on Housing Discrimination

Shelter is one of our most basic and most universal needs.  Like other basic needs, the need for safe housing is particularly urgent for parents for whom with the health and well-being of their children often takes precedence over their own.  As a San Francisco housing lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod represents renters throughout Northern California who have been treated unfairly by a landlord or property owner.  Our work includes representing the victims of housing discrimination, including families, minorities, and others whose rights are violated by increasingly powerful owners and landlords.

DOJ Announces $75,000 Settlement in Case Alleging Discrimination Against Families with Children

A recent case out of Colorado serves as a useful illustration of these wrongs.  On July 25, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a press release announcing that the owners and manager of a 28-unit apartment complex in Lakewood, Colorado have agreed to doorpay $75,000 to settle a claim filed under the Fair Housing Act.  The underlying lawsuit alleges that the defendants implemented a policy that generally excluded families with young children from residing in units located in the complex’s front building.  Per the allegations contained in the complaint, representatives from a Denver non-profit posed as potential renters and were told that families with children were generally housed in the rear building.  The suit further alleged that prospective renters with children were not offered the opportunity to consider available units in the front building.

Pursuant to the settlement, which must be approved by the Colorado federal court, the defendants must establish a fund to compensate the families harmed by discrimination, must pay damages to the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center (the non-profit involved in the suit), and pay a civil penalty to the federal government.  The proposed settlement also prohibits the defendants from engaging in future discrimination against families with children and requires them to take several steps to ensure future compliance with the law.

Violations Persist Despite Federal and California Laws Prohibiting Housing Discrimination

Under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3604, it is illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, or financing of residential dwellings on the basis of: Race; Color; National Origin; Religion; Sex; Disability; or Familial Status (i.e. having children under 18).  California law goes further and also forbids housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, source of income, and other personal characteristics.  Local laws may also protect renters from discrimination.

While one might hope that housing discrimination is rare, it surprisingly (and distressingly) common.  According to CivilRights.org, the federal government estimates that there are some two million instances of housing discrimination in the U.S. every year.

Our San Francisco Tenants’ Rights Law Firm

As a San Francisco tenants’ rights attorney, Greg Brod handles a wide range of disputes and represents renters throughout Northern California.  If you have been the victim of housing discrimination, suffered landlord harassment, or believe any of your legal rights have been violated by your landlord, please call our office.  We serve a tenants’ law firm in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and other Northern California communities.

Our team also has specialized experience helping tenants facing lead paint exposure, suffering from bed bug infestation, and dealing with a landlord who fails to maintain a habitable dwelling.  We handle both individual cases as well as housing class actions.

You have a right to a safe home and to be free from housing discrimination.  We can help.  A consultation is always free and some tenant protection laws allow for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in successful cases.

See Related Blog Posts:

San Francisco Tenant’s Lawyer on the Eviction Problem in Our Region

A Reminder that Northern California Renters Have Rights, Even Amid Affordable Housing Shortage

(Image by Danilo Arenas Ireijo)