08/23/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/23/2019 12:25
HUD No. 19-127
HUD Public Affairs
August 23, 2019
HUD APPROVES AGREEMENT BETWEEN HOUSING RIGHTS CENTER AND AVALONBAY COMMUNITIES, INC., RESOLVING ALLEGATIONS OF RACE DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced it has approved a Conciliation Agreement between Housing Rights Center (HRC), a fair housing advocacy organization in Los Angeles, and Arlington, VA-based AvalonBay Communities, Inc., resolving allegations that the real estate investment trust employed rental practices that discriminated against applicants based on their race. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against applicants for housing because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability, including by providing different and false information about terms, conditions and availability of rental properties.
'Denying a rental application because of someone's race not only robs them of a place to call home, it is also unlawful,' said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. 'Hopefully today's settlement will convince other housing providers of the importance of meeting their obligation to comply with the nation's fair housing laws.'
The case came to HUD's attention when HRC filed a complaint alleging that AvalonBay, which operates numerous properties in the Los Angeles area, repeatedly provided more information about available units to white HRC fair housing testers who posed as prospective tenants than to black HRC testers. AvalonBay denies the allegations of racial discrimination but agreed to conciliate the case.
Under the Conciliation Agreement, AvalonBay will pay Housing Rights Center $20,000. In addition, its management and leasing staff who work with tenants at the subject property will attend fair housing training. AvalonBay also agreed to comply with all provisions of the Fair Housing Act in the future.
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).