|HUD No. 14-137
October 31, 2014
HUD CHARGES OWNER OF MARYLAND HOUSING COMPLEX WITH DISCRIMINATING AGAINST VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Woman and sons forced from housing following incident
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Southgate Apartment Company and A & G Management Company, the owner and property manager of Southgate Apartments and Townhomes in Glen Burnie, Maryland, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to renew the lease of a female tenant and her two sons after she and her older son were stabbed by her then boyfriend.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to terminate an individual's housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.
"Survivors of domestic violence, who often have to fight for their lives, shouldn't have to fight to keep their housing," said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD is committed to working to ensure that women and children are not unlawfully forced from their homes because they were physically abused."
According to HUD's charge, the woman had resided with her two sons in the apartment complex for several years without incident. One evening, her then boyfriend came to her unit and, after a brief argument, stabbed the woman and her 18-year-old son, who had attempted to aid his mother. The woman spent several days in a hospital as a result of her injuries. Shortly after she was released from the hospital, the property manager of Southgate Apartments issued her a 30-day notice to vacate, which asserted that she had violated her lease because police had to be called to her home in response to "domestic issues and weapons being discharged." The owner and property manager later refused to renew the family's lease.
Following the incident, the woman enlisted the help of Maryland Legal Aid, a nonprofit law firm that provides a range of free civil legal services (www.mdlab.org/get-help-services/) to financially qualified residents of Maryland, and subsequently filed a complaint with HUD.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear the charge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed at www.hud.gov/fairhousing or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDGov, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.