December 10, 2012

RI landlord to pay $40K in Groton apt. bias suit

A Rhode Island landlord will pay $40,000 to a family denied a Groton apartment because of the family's size, authorities say.

Landings Real Estate Group, of Newport, R.I, and its affiliates, including the Long Meadow Landings apartment complex in Groton, agreed to settle the year-old federal housing discrimination complaint, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office and the Justice Department said Monday.

According to investigators, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center lodged a complaint on behalf of an unidentified woman and her family who claimed they were refused a rental unit.

Landings and its Long Meadow Landings and Landings Management LLC affiliates were named in the federal housing lawsuit filed in December 2011.

The Justice Department's civil enforcement action had alleged that the defendants discriminated against families with children by enforcing an occupancy policy at its apartment complex at 47 South Road. Landings Real Estate also owns Faire Harbor Landings in New London, and four other complexes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to Landings' homepage.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office will not tolerate discrimination in Connecticut's housing market and is prepared to bring enforcement actions, as we did here, when a family's federal right to housing is denied," said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein.

"Families with children should be able to obtain housing free from discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "Discrimination in housing harms not only those who were denied housing, but also the communities in which they sought to live."

Landings did not immediately respond to an email request Monday for comment.

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