CREEC & DMFHC Settle Family Status and Disability Housing Discrimination Complaints

Denver, CO — The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center (DMFHC) and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) resolved fair housing complaints against a management company that explicitly discriminated against families with children and people with disabilities.

When DeWayne Curtis was looking for an apartment for himself, his wife, and his toddler son, he responded to a Craigslist ad for the Langford Apartments in Littleton. When he reached the apartment manager, however, he was told that the apartment did not accept families with children. Mr. Curtis, knowing this was illegal, reached out to the DMFHC.

The DMFHC conducted an undercover investigation of the Langford, in which the management company’s employee was caught on tape telling investigators, “no kids,” and “we don’t accept children.” He also told a Deaf investigator, “we don’t allow service animals,” and “if you’re deaf I don’t think this is the place for you.”

These are all open and shut fair housing violations.

DMFHC, with the help of lawyers at CREEC, filed complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against Katchen & Company and the owners of the Langford for discriminating against families with children and people with disabilities on July 12, 2016.

These complaints follow two previous complaints against Katchen, one of which resulted in DMFHC educating Katchen staff on fair housing laws requiring reasonable accommodations for service animals; the second — not long after — requiring a lawsuit to prevent the eviction of two Katchen tenants following their requests to accommodate their service animals.

Under the Fair Housing Act, owners, managers, and other housing providers must make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices and procedures in order to ensure full enjoyment of dwellings by people with disabilities. This includes allowing people with disabilities to keep their service animals even if the housing provider has a “no pets” policy.

The Fair Housing Act also prohibits discrimination on the basis of “familial status,” that is, being a family with kids under 18.

After filing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), DMFHC and the Curtis family were represented by CREEC during the investigation and conciliation process. Under the terms of the settlement, Katchen employees will receive fair housing training, a company-wide antidiscrimination policy will be adopted, and future available housing advertisements will include explicit language encouraging families with children and people with disabilities to apply. In addition, the settlement provided for $70,000 in relief to the complainants.

“I was glad to be able to reach out to the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center,” Mr. Curtis stated. “I appreciated that DMFHC and CREEC were willing to go to bat for my family after we faced this blatant discrimination and am very glad to know that no other families will be turned away from the Langford apartments like we were.”

Arturo Alvarado, Executive Director of the DMFHC, urged all housing providers to be aware of the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. He stated, “It is troubling to know that individuals and families face disability and familial status housing discrimination in the community 28 years since the passing of the fair housing amendment act of 1988. It is essential for housing providers to comply with all of their responsibilities under the law.”

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability; the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. If you believe you have encountered housing discrimination, please contact the CREEC at 303-757-7901 or the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center at 720-279-4921.

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