Justice Department Secures Agreement with Florida Housing Complexes for Discrimination Against Families with Children

On January 9, 2024, the Justice Department announced a settlement with three cooperative housing corporations in Hallandale Beach, Florida, to resolve allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by discriminating against families with children.

The department’s lawsuit alleged that Isle of Paradise “B” Inc., Isle of Paradise “C” Inc. and Isle of Paradise “E” Inc. maintained and/or enforced policies prohibiting children under age 12 at their respective properties on an island known as the Isle of Paradise during certain times since 2015. The properties are 30-unit multifamily buildings known as the Monticello, at 450 Paradise Isle Blvd. (owned by Isle of Paradise “B” Inc.), the Georgetown, at 460 Paradise Isle Blvd. (owned by Isle of Paradise “C” Inc.) and the Williamsburg, at 465 Paradise Isle Blvd. (owned by Isle of Paradise “E” Inc.)

“These settlements represent the tireless efforts of attorneys with the Justice Department’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section and the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who endeavor to fulfill the promise of fair housing for all, as envisioned by Congress in its enactment of the Fair Housing Act,” said U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida. “One settlement provides compensation to a realtor, and her clients, a prospective renter with a young child, who the complaint alleges were denied an opportunity to lease a unit due to unlawful policies and practices of Isle of Paradise “B” Inc., which prohibited families with children under age 12.”

“The Fair Housing Act outlaws familial status discrimination, including discrimination against families with children,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to enforcing the Fair Housing Act and seeking relief for families harmed by unlawful policies and practices that unfairly exclude them.”

Under the agreements, in the form of three separate consent decrees that were approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the defendants will pay a total of $52,000, including $39,000 to individuals who are alleged to have been harmed by the defendants’ practices and civil penalties to the government to vindicate the public interest. The defendants also agreed to undergo fair housing training and to submit periodic reports to the department.

The department conducted an investigation and filed this lawsuit after a woman and her real estate agent informed the department that she was turned away from renting a unit at the Monticello building because she had a son under age 12. The department’s allegations were based, in part, on evidence generated by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Unit, in which individuals pose as prospective renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.

Individuals who believe they or someone they know may have been discriminated against at these properties because they have children should send an e-mail to the Justice Department at [email protected] or [email protected]; or leave a message at 1-833-591-0291, selecting option 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, then option 1 for housing discrimination, and then option 7 for Isle of Paradise.

The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on familial status, race, color, national origin, religion, sex and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals may report housing discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination tip line at 1-833-591-0291, emailing the Justice Department at [email protected] or submitting a report online. Individuals may also report such discrimination by contacting HUD at 1-800-669-9777, or by filing a complaint with HUD online.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 23-cv-62277.

View the complaint.

View the Isle of Paradise B consent decree.

View the Isle of Paradise C consent decree.

View the Isle of Paradise E consent decree.

From https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/justice-department-secures-agreement-florida-housing-complexes-discrimination-against