WASHINGTON, DC – July 13, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached an agreement with Chilton Associates, Ltd., owner of Peachtree Apartments in Clanton, Alabama, and its manager Sunbelt Management Company, settling allegations that they maintained a policy of discriminating against prospective tenants based on national origin. Specifically, HUD alleged that Peachtree Apartments required that prospective Hispanic tenants provide documentation of their immigration status, while not asking the same of non-Hispanic individuals.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to impose different rental terms and conditions based on national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
“Where you come from does not dictate where you can live,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Every person has the right to housing free from discrimination based on ethnicity. We are pleased that this company has taken steps to comply with the Fair Housing Act.”
The settlement stems from a complaint initiated by HUD after the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center (CAFHC) informed HUD that fair housing tests it had conducted suggested discrimination at the property. In one test, the property manager of Peachtree Apartments allegedly asked a CAFHC tester who was posing as a prospective tenant whether she was Hispanic. When the tester replied that she was Hispanic, the manager allegedly required that the tester produce a green card or “work visa.” The manager also allegedly required the same identification from the prospective tenant’s mother and two sons.
Under the settlement agreement, Chilton Associates will adopt non-discriminatory admission policies, develop a plan to market housing opportunities to populations with limited English proficiency in its service areas and provide translation services, and administer fair housing training to its employees and contractors. These provisions will apply to 9,406 housing units at 264 properties in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Chilton Associates will also donate $5,000 to CAFHC to support fair housing enforcement and education, donate $5,000 to a local Alabama non-profit organization that serves the Latino community, and conduct periodic testing to ensure that it is providing its services to every applicant equally, regardless of national origin.
The settlement agreement is not an admission by Chilton Associates of any violation of the Fair Housing Act. Chilton Associates voluntarily entered into the settlement agreement to demonstrate its commitment to conduct its housing programs and activities in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, with its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program, investigates approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY). More information about fair housing rights is available at HUD’s website, www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
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 @HUDnews, on facebook at
www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.