The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it has reached a Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with National Community Renaissance, National Community Renaissance of California, Desert Meadows Housing Partners, LP, Victorville Housing Partners L.P., and Cathedral Family Housing Partners, L.P., management agents and owners of four HUD-subsidized apartment complexes in Southern California, resolving allegations that the property managers refused to rent to or provide adequate language services for applicants with limited English proficiency (LEP). Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against persons seeking housing because of national origin. In addition, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance and requires such recipients to take reasonable steps to ensure that LEP persons have meaningful access to programs and activities.
“Individuals and families seeking to obtain decent affordable housing shouldn’t be turned away just because they don’t speak English,” said Demetria McCain, HUD’s principal deputy assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, in a statement. “Today’s settlement represents HUD’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligations under Title VI and the Fair Housing Act to welcome all applicants, regardless of the language they speak.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board (IFHMB), a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, filed four complaints after it conducted fair housing tests allegedly showing that on-site managers at the properties refused to rent to LEP persons and told Spanish speaking prospective tenants that they needed to speak English in order to be added to properties’ waiting lists. LEP prospective tenants were also allegedly told that they had to provide their own interpreters.
Under the agreement, the management agents and owners of the properties will pay $9,000 to IFHMB, submit documentation attesting to completion of fair housing training and comply with HUD’s LEP Guidelines entitled “Final Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons.”
People who believe they have experienced discrimination in housing may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to hud.gov/fairhousing.