On January 12, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ordered three Plano landlords to pay for rent denials based on race.
Landlords will pay $140,649 in damages, civil penalties and attorneys’ fees for violations of the Fair Housing Act, HUD said in a statement. Following an investigation in 2020, an administrative law court ruled that agent Quang Dangtran and property owners Ha Nguyen and HQD Enterprise, LLC refused to rent an apartment to a black woman because of race. Discriminatory statements, discriminatory advertising on Craigslist, and retaliation against the woman also occurred because she filed a complaint with HUD.
“The ALJ’s decision recognizes the significant pain and real harm that comes when housing providers violate the Fair Housing Act,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s First Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Combatting unlawful housing discrimination, whether overt or covert, remains a top priority for HUD.”
While investigating the allegations, the ALJ found that Dangtran refused to show the woman the advertised room and then told her that his wife would be uncomfortable living in the house because she was black.
The owner then told her that the room was already rented when the room was still available for rent. The landlords later placed an ad on Craigslist asking interested tenants to indicate their race and submit a photo of themselves.
The Administrative Court found that landlords violated the Fair Housing Act by posting a discriminatory housing ad, making a discriminatory statement, providing false information about the availability of rental housing, refusing to negotiate or rent a woman because of her race, and accepting retaliation against her for filing the application. Housing discrimination complaint.
The judge ordered the homeowners to pay $79,782.75 in damages to the woman, $49,472 in civil penalties, and $11,394.61 in attorneys’ fees. The Administrative Court also ordered the defendants to receive training on the Fair Housing and Cultural Property Act, adopt a non-discrimination policy, and use the language of equal housing opportunity in future advertisements and rental documents.