Residents of an apartment complex on Detroit Avenue in Concord are filing a complaint against the complex’ management for allegedly not allowing up to six people to live in one apartment at the same time.
The following information was sent out by Tenants Together, which is an Organization for Renters’ Rights:
Long-term tenants at the Huntington Arms Apartments complex in Concord will hold an event today to announce the filing of a formal administrative complaint against the management of their complex for evicting families for having children in the building.
Tenant parents will speak about how their tight-knit community has been threatened by the management’s unlawful policies that restrict the number of children that they can have in their homes. The property is owned by Peter Carlson, an absentee landlord who is a professor of political science at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.
According to the Complaint filed with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Friday, July 20, the manager sent a letter to all families imposing illegal restrictions on the number of people who could live in each unit and specific restrictions on children.
The arbitrary limit on children occupying units represents an egregious violation of state and federal fair housing laws. For example, one family with two children and pregnant with a third was informed that the landlord was not permitting more than three people in the unit. Per the Uniform Housing Code, adopted by the City of Concord, six people can safely and lawfully live in the apartment.
The Complaint also alleges that the manager threatened to evict the families for having their children play in the common areas of the apartment complex, a threat that violates federal and state housing discrimination laws.
According to Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director of Tenants Together, “It’s hard enough in this economy to support a family without illegal eviction threats because you have children. These tenants are asserting their rights in order to protect their families.” Simon-Weisberg and David Levine of Bay Area Legal Aid are representing the tenants in this dispute.
With a more competitive rental market across the state and the nation, housing advocates have seen a rise in complaints of family status discrimination. Federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against families with children, but violations can be difficult to prove.
In this case, the landlord gave formal notice to tenants of apartment occupancy limits and other building policies that targeted families.
The tenants have been working with Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, to assert their rights.
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