Managers of an apartment building in suburban New York have routinely discriminated against prospective African-American renters, according to a lawsuit filed this week in federal district court. The lawsuit was brought by the group ERASE Racism and the Fair Housing Justice Center.
Both groups jointly funded a 2012 investigation that included sending several teams of comparably qualified African-American and white testers posing as prospecrtive renters to inquire about apartments at the 74-unit Town House Apartments in the Village of Mineola, a predominately white community in Nassau County. The lawsuit alleges that an “Apartment for Rent” sign appeared at the building’s entrance, but the building superintendent discouraged black renters from applying by not showing available apartments, quoting higher rents, or suggesting that black applicants would have to be added to a non-existent waiting list.
Sound illegal? That’s exactly the point. The suit alleges that the apartment building’s actions constitute racial discrimination, and that’s in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
“This lawsuit is about more than just people being kept out of a suburban apartment building,” says Kimiki Hibson, executtive director of the Fair Housing Justice Center.” It is about African Americans being shut out of a community with high-performing schools, good jobs, and many other amenities. It’s an injustice that serves as a painful reminder, on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, that much work must still be done to ensure equal treatment and fair housing.”
For more, visit ERASE’s website.