DFEH Settles Familial Status Housing Discrimination Case in Castro Valley
January 16, 2019
For Immediate Release
Property management company to pay $16,000 for allegedly discouraging family from applying for apartment rental
Castro Valley – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in a housing discrimination case against V.B. Property Management, Inc., of Castro Valley involving allegations of familial status discrimination.
The complainants, a family of four, alleged the property management company refused to allow them to rent an apartment in a multi-unit complex because the property manager did not consider children to be appropriate tenants for the complex. The property manager allegedly made statements that the unit might be overcrowded, that neighbors might not be happy with noise, and that the building was for “business people.” DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred and, after an unsuccessful mediation, filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court. The case settled before trial, with the defendant agreeing to pay $12,500 to the family and $3,500 to the DFEH for fees and costs incurred in litigating the case.
“Families with minor children are entitled to equal treatment by housing providers,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “Unreasonable occupancy restrictions and comments intended to discourage families with minor children from applying can have the same effect as an outright denial of housing and can likewise constitute illegal discrimination.”
In addition to monetary settlement, Defendant has agreed to enroll its property managers in fair housing training and to draft a non-discrimination policy to be included in future brochures and advertisements. Defendant will also post DFEH posters regarding the prohibition of discrimination at each property it manages.
Adam Chayes, Staff Counsel, represented DFEH in this proceeding.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.