|HUD No. 06-077
July 5, 2006
HUD CHARGES NEW JERSEY LANDLORD AND TWO EMPLOYEES WITH VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT BASED ON RELIGION
Charge alleges Cottage Manor Apartments sought to group tenants
based on religion, race, color, and national origin
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it has issued a charge of discrimination against Triple H. Realty, LLC of Lakewood, New Jersey, and two of its employees. The charge alleges that Triple H. Realty and the two employees violated the Fair Housing Act by attempting to segregate tenants at the Cottage Manor Apartments, a 104-unit, six building apartment complex located in Lakewood, New Jersey, based on their religion, race, color, and national origin.
HUD alleges that the owner, managing agent, and onsite superintendent of the Cottage Manor Apartments treated non-Jewish tenants differently than Jewish tenants. Specifically, HUD alleges that non-Jewish Hispanic and African-American tenants were forced to transfer to the buildings located in the rear of the subject property to allow Jewish families to move into the better-kept apartments in the front of the complex. HUD found that the managing agent for Triple H. Realty, LLC, offered Jewish tenants incentives to relocate to Cottage Manor and instructed the onsite superintendent to ask African-American and Hispanic families living in two buildings to transfer to another building so that Jewish tenants would not have to live among African-American and Hispanic families.
"The allegations involved in this case smack of the racial covenants and the ugly segregation of the past," said Kim Kendrick, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Forcing families to move because of their religious beliefs is not a part of America today."
HUD's investigation found non-Jewish, African-American and Hispanic tenants received little to no apartment maintenance as compared to the maintenance provided to Jewish tenants. For example, Cottage Manor management refused to properly exterminate a non-Jewish family's apartment, as well as failed to perform adequate maintenance repairs in the family's bedroom and bathroom.
HUD's on-site investigation confirmed that the maintenance of the one building occupied by non-Jewish tenants was substantially different. The building housing many of the Jewish families has a well-manicured lawn in the front courtyard that is enclosed by a white picket fence. Conversely, the buildings with the majority of African-American and Hispanic tenants are not well maintained, have little or no lawn in the courtyards, and the courtyards are not enclosed.
Cottage Manor management also instituted different lawn policies for tenants that were not Jewish. African-American and Hispanic tenants were told that they could not leave any toys or personal items on the lawns, but Jewish tenants were allowed to leave personal items on the lawns.
Kendrick added, "Providing unequal living facilities based on religion, race, color, and/or national origin is simply inconceivable. We are committed to ensuring these families have an equal opportunity for housing in their community."
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against persons based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status.
Housing discrimination charges heard before an administrative law judge carry a maximum civil penalty of $11,000 for a first offense, in addition to actual damages for each complainant, injunctive or other equitable relief, and attorneys' fees. Sanctions can be more severe if a respondent has a history of housing discrimination. Parties also have the right to elect to have their cases heard in federal district court.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Initiatives Program and the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 9,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) 800-927-9275 (TTY) or the Department of Justice at (800) 896-7743 or 202-514-4713. Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing and www.usdoj.gov.