A Syosset-based civil rights group announced a settlement this week in a housing discrimination case filed against a Mineola landlord and property manager.
The settlement – forged by ERASE Racism and four other plaintiffs – provides $165,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and costs to plaintiffs regarding the rental of apartments at the 75-unit Town House Apartments. The settlement allows for substantial structural changes to the rental operations at the Mineola apartment building, an ERASE Racism news release reported.
According to Erase Racism, LLR Realty agreed to adopt and implement non-discrimination policies to prevent future fair housing law violations at the property pursuant to the Settlement Agreement and Order.
“We brought this case because we had compelling evidence of racial discrimination and African Americans cannot be denied housing choice based on race,” Elaine Gross, president of ERASE Racism, said in a statement.
The case came about after an investigation jointly funded by ERASE Racism and the Fair Housing Justice Center. Testers who were sent to the Town House Apartments on multiple occasions reported discrepancies between “the welcoming responses received by white testers and the discriminatory actions endured by African American testers who inquired about one-bedroom apartments for rent,” according to ERASE Racism.
As a result, ERASE Racism filed a complaint as the lead plaintiff on August 28, 2013, with the Fair Housing Justice Center and three African American testers naming LLR Realty, LLC and the building superintendent as defendants for engaging in housing discrimination, according to ERASE Racism.
Under the settlement, according to ERASE Racism, LLR Realty is to undertake:
- employee training of the owner, building superintendent and other employees and/or agents involved in showing and renting apartments;
- recordkeeping of vital documents, including rental applications and denials
- proper advertising to ensure adherence to fair housing laws
The settlement grants ERASE Racism the power to examine records to help ensure compliance until 2017. Also, apartment vacancies must be advertised to the public throughwww.craigslist.com in a non-discriminatory manner as a result of the settlement.
“This settlement should send a clear message to other rental housing providers on Long Island that housing must be made available on an equal basis to all people without regard to race, ” Fair Housing Justice Center Executive Director Fred Freiberg noted.
“The FHJC will continue to work with ERASE Racism and other organizations to ensure that fair housing laws are vigorously enforced,” he added.
To promote fair housing, the settlement requires that HUD Equal Housing Opportunity notices are posted at the property and visibly rendered on all rental applications.
Learn more about the case by visiting the ERASE Racism website.