Bay Area Landlord To Pay $250,000 To Settle DFEH Housing Discrimination Case Based On National Origin And Perceived Immigration Status
April 22, 2020
For Immediate Release
Landlord Threatened to Report Tenants to Immigration Authorities
Sacramento – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has settled a housing discrimination case against a San Francisco Bay Area landlord involving discrimination claims based on tenants’ national origin and perceived immigration status.
The complainants, a married couple and their two children, filed a complaint with DFEH in November 2017 alleging that their landlord threatened to report them to federal immigration authorities if they did not move out within a matter of days. They also alleged that their landlord threatened to report their attorney to the California Bar, claiming that it was illegal for the attorney to advocate on behalf of tenants that the landlord perceived to be undocumented.
After finding cause to believe that violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act had occurred, DFEH filed a civil complaint against the landlord in December 2018. The complainants intervened in the lawsuit, with Liza Cristol-Deman of Brancart & Brancart and Jonathan Erwin-Frank of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto representing them.
Today, the parties filed a settlement with the Court requiring the landlord to pay a total of $250,000 in damages and attorney’s fees. The settlement also requires the landlord to implement a new anti-discrimination policy, post fair housing notices at her properties, and complete fair housing and landlord tenant law training.
“California law is clear,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “Landlords cannot threaten to report their tenants to immigration authorities to pressure them to move out. All Californians have the right to fair housing regardless of their immigration status or national origin.”
Anthony Grumbach, Associate Chief Counsel, represented DFEH.
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.