Apartment owners accused of denying housing to blacks
HUD CHARGES NEW YORK LANDLORDS WITH HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON - The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is charging two New York City apartment owners with violating the Fair Housing Act by allegedly making discriminatory statements, including objecting to an African-American roommate coming to a "white neighborhood."
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from making statements regarding the sale or rental of housing that indicate a preference or discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. HUD's Charge of Discrimination, issued on behalf of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and Long Island Housing Services Inc., (LIHS) alleges that Vyacheslav Uvaydov made several statements to testers for NFHA and LIHS that discriminated based on race, color and national origin.
According to HUD's charge, when testers called to inquire about renting the apartment owned by Vyacheslav Uvaydov and his brother Emanuil Uvaydov, Vyacheslav Uvaydov made repeated inquiries about the race and national origin of the callers and their roommates. For example, he asked testers whether they were Greek, Indian or Italian. When one tester responded that her roommate would be African American, Uvaydov allegedly told her that would be a problem because the neighborhood is white, and that if he rented to a black person there would be complaints. He further stated that he had received several other calls from "people of different colors" and he just could not rent to them.
"The Fair Housing Act gives all persons the right to choose where they want live regardless of their race, national origin, gender, religion, familial status, or disability," said John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "We will aggressively pursue landlords and property owners who attempt to deny equal housing opportunities to individuals or families because of these characteristics."
The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he or she may award damages to the complainant for its loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, and award payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest. If the case is heard in federal count, the judge may also award punitive damages to the complainant.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate over 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.