Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California and Client File Discrimination Complaint Against Landlord
January 26, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Caroline Peattie, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California
(415) 483-7552, email@example.com
Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California and Client File Discrimination Complaint Against Landlord
San Rafael, CA – For more than 20 years, it has been illegal for most California landlords to use a minimum income standard in assessing eligibility for a rental applicant that is not based on the portion of the rent to be paid by the tenant, if the tenant has a government subsidy. In January 2020, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act was amended to make it illegal to discriminate against or exclude tenants and applicants because they have housing choice vouchers, or Section 8.
Despite these laws, some landlords continue to exclude Section 8 voucher holders, either by rejecting them for tenancy altogether, or using a minimum income requirement that is impossible for a voucher holder to meet.
Late yesterday, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California (FHANC) and one of its clients, Ronda Brooks, filed a lawsuit in Sonoma County Superior Court alleging that AMFP Creekview LLC, Tilden-Lamplighter LLC, and FPI Management, Inc. have excluded voucher holders by using an illegal minimum income standard in at least two of their Sonoma County properties. This minimum income requirement has the effect of excluding tenants who have vouchers.
AMFP IV Creekview LLC is a Delaware company that holds title to the Lenox Apartments located in Rohnert Park, California; Tilden-Lamplighter LLC is a California company that holds title to the Parc Station apartment complex located in Santa Rosa, California. FPI Management, Inc. is a California corporation that manages both the Lenox Apartments and the Parc Station Apartments as well as rental properties in 18 states, including 654 rental properties in California.
In April 2020, FHANC sent informational brochures explaining the new changes to the law to 50 housing providers and property managers in the region, including FPI Management, Inc. The informational brochure explained that rejecting rental applicants because they hold a government voucher constitutes unlawful discrimination based on source of income. The brochure also reiterated that existing law, which has been in effect since 2000, provides that a landlord who uses a minimum income threshold for a voucher holder must calculate that threshold based on the amount of rent that will be paid by the tenant, rather than the entire rent amount.
Ms. Ronda Brooks is a recipient of a housing choice voucher, which is federally-funded rental assistance – through the Sonoma County Housing Authority. In June of 2020, Ms. Brooks found a listing for the Lenox Apartments on the website Zillow.com and thought that it might be a good fit for her needs. She drove by the apartments, liked what she saw, and called to inquire about a unit. When Ms. Brooks talked with the agent, she asked if they accepted housing choice vouchers. The agent at Lenox told Ms. Brooks that they accepted vouchers, but that Ms. Brooks would need to have an income of at least $5,000 per month, or roughly 2.5 times the rent. Ms. Brooks explained that if she had income in that amount, then she would not have qualified for a Housing Choice Voucher in the first place. The employee responded that the $5,000 minimum income requirement was the Lenox Apartments’ policy.
Based on Ms. Brooks’ allegation, FHANC conducted an investigation in September 2020, replicating the experience of Ms. Brooks. A FHANC employee contacted the Lenox Apartments and an agent for the building told him that they accept Section 8, but only if the applicant has an income of at least 2.5 times the rent, and that this income requirement would still apply, even with the voucher.
In December 2020, an employee of the Sonoma County Housing Authority contacted FHANC and reported that multiple voucher holders were rejected for tenancy by FPI Management, Inc. at the Parc Station Apartments because they did not meet the building’s minimum monthly income requirement of 2.5 times the monthly rent, regardless of the amount of rent the tenant would be responsible for paying using their voucher. In January 2021, a FHANC employee called the Parc Station Apartments, and the agent confirmed that they accept vouchers but still require that all applicants make a minimum of 2.5 times the monthly rent to qualify.
“Discriminating against people who have housing choice vouchers is illegal, pure and simple,” said Caroline Peattie, Executive Director of FHANC. “The law requiring that a landlord must base income requirements for a voucher holders on their portion of the rent has been in effect for 20 years. A huge management company like FPI should not have policies in place that fail to comply with existing fair housing laws, and they should ensure all their agents are properly trained on those laws. We even sent them information about this specific law, and yet FPI still has discriminatory policies in place. As a result, we’ve had to redouble our efforts to educate the community that discrimination against housing choice vouchers is illegal.”
“I really hope that this lawsuit makes all landlords understand the law and change their polices,” said Ms. Brooks. “I want people to understand how important the law is to ensure that voucher holders can find housing. If landlords can refuse to rent to Housing Choice Voucher holders, it makes it incredibly difficult for people like me to find housing.”
Ms. Brooks is represented by Liza Cristol-Deman of Brancart & Brancart.
Note: This material is based on work supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under FHIP PEI Grant FPEI190035. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of HUD.
Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California is a non-profit organization serving several Bay Area counties that provides free counseling, enforcement, mediation, and legal or administrative referrals to persons experiencing housing discrimination. Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California also offers foreclosure prevention counseling, pre-purchase education, seminars to help housing providers fully understand fair housing law, and education programs for tenants and the community at large. Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California is a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling Agency. Please call Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California at (415) 457-5025 or TDD: (800) 735-2922 for more information
6/20/2021 12:13:14 am
Interesting article! I have never been interested in this topic!
8/22/2021 01:44:14 pm
you should not have to debate over filing a complaint covid. has every government office kicked back eating bon bons from home when their jobs aint put them in danger before during are after covid everyones off their a game and i mean ive been discriminated against by novato police so badddddddly that id rather die than not to report them in washington where there is no way in zueses ass that one police group doesnt follow policies as the otger states is ludacrist cadets allowed to have confederate flaggs and pitch forks at their town meetings so much i have to report on tgem they tryd to frame me with my dear neighbors death they ignored a census workers and my call regarding a fowl smell on aug 21 last year the coos ignored me as i yelled and waved guess what yall?they went into a wrong house on purpose to search for the dead body smell while me the black girl waved flagged them down they stopped looked and ignored me got in cars left any body who knows the streets oakland im from oakland ok so im a investigator but in the hood if you will so they ignored me twilught zone ?nope they knew about that body upstairs you see they werent ready yet to discover it cause they wanted to put it on me and hadnt figured out how to doit so they ign o red me ....i was so hurt i called 911 back and said theyre so dam prejudiced they ignored me as the census lady specifically told the regular dispatcher who says my name so irritatingly it makes me crazy ...the answer of the cop was that she didnt tell them hummp a 911 dispatcher fails to mention my name to arriving officers who ignored me so bad i had to go in the house see if i had a picture in the mirror it was then i didnt know my neighbor was upstairs liquifying as the very same cop who ignored me is here with one other ok i read all coroners books on the way to read a death the way you dont disturb surrounding evidence its very interesting its no less than 4 officers including a detective a coroner and responding officers yall need to petition to get my cameras and see the strangest bleep you ever seen pinky swear i got a filling they been tampering with my camera system but guess what family?when the death and strange stuff happened i had 24 7 recording im confirming they so corrupt they been having a hard on to charge me with something to kill me off tgey moved in a lady 24 days ago tge women flooded my house 5 times clogged my toiket on putpose second night broke my car window by forcing it down stold mail out my home her first night as i barbecued fourth of july she tampered with my mail was attemting to receive her mail in my box probably hasnt put pge in her name as im charged big bills as my attacker is allowed to stay next door and tourture me from before my bday sept 10th last year they thought tgey play me on mental health as i rocked their worlds and said im not crazy sweetheart im the most popular trend setter in the bingo world and waitress bartender all over bay area ive met the good bad and the ugly...and ive been blessed to be loved and love blk white somoan tungin chinese asian japanese phillipino and mexican guamanian portirican i dont see color my neighbor was white it dont matter i would hope someone would ask questions if i died find out if it was fowl play i discovered that police were planning to kill me and they picked me to take out because ive got so much dirt on them that i could reach heaven god jehovahs address at mount zion off them alone send a state aiditor in there no internal affairs no one to run tell it to
8/22/2021 12:53:42 pm
im a lady whos bieng discriminated against so badly that i could just laydown and die i have been complaining about squatters for over a year but due to housing having 27 citys to manage their is but one building inspector gor the entire marin county this is illegal and every agency that knows about it is in violation sure they have a webdite that looks normal to the rest of the world as they list names and name miniwue brossard as senior inspector but what nobody noticing?is shes the only one thats going to inspect your home unheard of and illegal i been to every housing authority on earth a dead body in police tryd to frame me for the death of kellan osborne its been my experience that very little help is offered at fair housing i remember i wanted to file a complaint as the person working there told me that she didnt have resources yo do the job weird huh also last time i was told i couldnt get help due to conflict of interest....with another client made no sense but i was left with a decompised body for 30 days not a dam thing was done no health department no inspectors from hud nothibg was reported kellan osborne and im going to sue the problem is fair housing will go so far but tgeyre not goung agsinst the corruption ive become aware of i contacted hud in Washington where it was created for blacks and minoritys but rich marin locks them out by having a biased senior inspector everyone who knows about it is breaking the law i was told to make a report with fair housing so i called not one call back because the fact is true they will do very little when you want to sue my civil rights violated as my house was infected with dead body liquified no help came i got a infevtion and sick and god only knows what ive ingested get this house was discovered to be asbestos guessvwhat minuque brossard sneaky didnt tell me s...nothing i discovered this as they had to tair open some of the floor deadbody smell was reeking im getting sick tjinking about it i dont want to hear no excuses why i cant sue if they dont help me im reporting them as well this housing was investigated by the feds im wondering whats taking so dam ling to check back with corruption and overlooking diserving families as they lock all minorities out of the city i was retaliated against at 95 medway road no.203 a apartment owned by county and buckaloo they moved a rapist in with me he assaulted me not a dam tjing done call me anybody everybody we will see if and how fair is fair houdsing we gone see
6/2/2022 04:40:01 am
This is a very helpful article. Thank you very much for writing it.
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