Author: Trina M. Clayton
There has been a marked increase in familial status suits over the past several years, with many more that settle under confidential agreements for monetary damages, making the potential for these claims quite serious. A landlord found to be in violation of familial status housing laws could incur any number of penalties including:
- Civil penalties of up to $16,000 for a first violation and $65,000 for future violations;
- Actual damages to reimburse a tenant or prospective tenant for costs incurred because of the alleged discrimination such as paying for the tenant’s out-of-pocket expenses for finding alternative housing or rent fees associated with alternative housing;
- Damages to compensate a tenant or prospective tenant who has suffered humiliation, mental anguish or other psychological injuries as a result of the alleged discrimination;
- Punitive Damages; and
- Attorney fees
A landlord may also be ordered by the court to take specific action to reverse the alleged discrimination (such as renting to a family which the landlord had initially rejected), and participate in fair housing training.
It is imperative a landlord abide by federal, state and local laws regarding Fair Housing. For specific legal advice on familial status or other types of housing discrimination, please contact Ad Astra for guidance.