DFEH Settles Case against Santa Barbara Landlord for Familial Status Discrimination

May 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

Couple with newborn evicted under landlords’ alleged “adults-only” policy

Santa Barbara – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in a familial status housing case with Aage Skove Bertelsen Living Trust (owner) and Mark Bertelsen (manager) involving an alleged rule that prohibited children from living at the apartment complex and an illegal occupancy standard that only allowed up to two people in a one-bedroom unit.

The complainants filed a complaint with DFEH in April 2017 alleging that Respondents asked them, a husband and wife with a newborn baby, to move out because “children weren’t allowed” and they had exceeded the “2 persons” limit for their one-bedroom.

DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred. As part of a settlement agreement, the Respondents will pay the complainants $20,000.

“Families are entitled to housing and cannot be targeted for eviction because they welcome a new child into their home,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “It is illegal for landlords to use occupancy rules as an excuse to reduce the presence of families with children.”

In addition to a monetary settlement, the owners and property managers have agreed to change their policies to allow children tenants; revise overly restrictive occupancy standards; undergo fair housing training; develop, implement, and distribute a written anti-discrimination policy; distribute DFEH fair housing brochures to current and future tenants in all rental properties they own or manage in California; and post fair housing posters in all rental properties they own or manage in California.

Martha L. Gomez, Staff Counsel, represented DFEH.


The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. CRD’s mission is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.

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