By: Camille Respess
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Renters Continue to Face Housing Discrimination in the U.S.
In 2016, there were 28,181 reported housing discrimination claims in the U.S. Of these, 91.5 percent occurred during rental transactions, according to the National Fair Housing Alliance.
What’s more, of these 28,181 cases of housing discrimination, 55 percent involved discrimination against individuals with disabilities, 19.6 percent were based on racial discrimination and 8.5 percent were against families with kids.
A recent case out of Portland, Oregon, proves just how pervasive housing discrimination, especially against renters, is in this country. In a Nov. 20 article published in the Oregonian, it was revealed that in Portland, landlords are 25 percent more likely to give worse treatment to people of color and immigrants during the rental process.
In a statement released on the same day, Portland’s mayor Ted Wheller, said, “The results from the fair housing report indicate something we have been working to remedy locally, and in our nation — an inherited history of discrimination. I think we can all agree we have much further to go.”
This type of discrimination is illegal in all states in the U.S.
The U.S. Fair Housing Act bans giving preference to housing based on race, national origin, religion, sex, family status and disability.
The attorneys at Kennedy Hunt P.C. work to ensure that all individuals receive fair housing opportunities.
In one of our cases, we successfully defended victims of housing discrimination in Effingham, Illinois.
U.S. et al. v. Wallschlaeger, 3:14-cv-00129-SMY (S.D. Ill.).
We represented tenants of a trailer park in Effingham, Illinois who were victims of racial discrimination. Our client, a resident of the trailer park, became disabled and invited his niece to move in and assist him with activities of daily living. When she invited her African American boyfriend to live with them, the manager of the mobile home park refused to allow him on the lease. Racial epithets and threats were then directed to the young man. No African Americans had ever lived in the trailer park before. Eventually all three clients had to move from the park. The clients contacted HOPE Fair Housing Center in Chicago, which referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice. Caucasian and African American testers then visited the park and inquired about possible residency: the Caucasian testers were immediately offered a lease, while the African American testers were discouraged from applying. The U. S. Dept. of Justice filed suit against the owner of the trailer park as well as the managers, and our clients intervened in the case. After lengthy pretrial discovery, the case was eventually settled. Pursuant to a consent decree, our clients were received damages in the amount of $217,500, the landlord paid a civil penalty of $50,000, and the landlord agreed to establishment of nondiscriminatory application process and to Fair Housing training.
If you have been a victim of housing discrimination, we want to help you. Fill out a case questionnaire so the dedicated and skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt P.C. can better understand your claim.