Napa Renter With Big Family Wins Eviction Case

Friday, May 2, 2008
Henry K. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle

Two Napa landlords accused of evicting a woman because they felt she had too many children have agreed to pay her $18,000 to settle her housing-discrimination complaint, officials said today.

Arlene Dennett and Dottie Rentschler did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of their settlement with Sonia Navarrete, according to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing. They must undergo fair-housing training and implement nondiscrimination policies for all their rental properties in the state.

Navarrete, who lives in a four-bedroom house on Sequoia Street in Napa, was served with an eviction notice after she gave birth to a third child and became pregnant with a fourth, the department said when it filed a complaint on her behalf with the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission in November.

The landlords said the size of Navarrete's family violated a Napa Housing Authority contract that limited the number of occupants in the house. But state officials said they found no evidence to support that assertion. The Housing Authority was involved because Navarrete received Section 8 federal rent subsidies for the house, where she has lived for more than two years, officials said.

"All Californians have the right to pursue appropriate housing without fearing discrimination," Rosario Marin, secretary of the State and Consumer Services agency, said in a statement today.

Dennett could not be reached for comment. Reached by phone, Rentschler declined to say anything immediately.

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