HRC Race Case - Discrimination Against African-Americans

The Housing Rights Center (HRC), as part of its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Private Enforcement Initiative Project, filed a federal lawsuit against a Los Angeles landowner who consistently refused to rent to African-Americans.

The FHIP Project, a program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows fair housing organizations to proactively root out and address discrimination, recognizing that housing discrimination is grossly under-reported.

HRC conducted a 22 month investigation into the landowner’s rental activities in the Baldwin Village section of Los Angeles. HRC’s investigation confirmed that the owner systematically refused to rent to African Americans in many of the apartment buildings he owned.

The 22 month investigation included extensive on-site rental testing, where African-American and Hispanic testers posed as rental applicants. In each test, an African American tester was told by a rental agent that no apartments were available to rent at the building, while a Hispanic tester was informed moments later of the availability of apartments at the same building. 

HRC also interviewed several former managers who came forward and alleged they had been instructed by the owner not to rent to African Americans.

“Race discrimination in Los Angeles continues to be a problem,” stated Stephanie Knapik, HRC’s FHIP Project Director. “Your race should never be a factor in determining whether or not you qualify to rent an apartment.”

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