Recent Familial Status Fair Housing Litigation Against Owners Associations

Two lawsuits were filed last month alleging fair housing violations related to owners association rules prohibiting children from certain outside activity.  In California, the Neri’s, homeowners, sued the Tennis Villas At Blackhawk Association along with its board members, and its management company and manager.  In Minnesota, federal authorities sued Greenbrier Village Homeowners Association, and its management company and manager.


The Neri lawsuit alleges that the association’s prohibition against trick-or-treating for Halloween, and prohibition against children playing in the common areas violate federal and state fair housing laws, state civil rights and unfair competition statutes, and constitutes negligence.  The plaintiffs seek money damages, including punitive damages, and injunctive relief requiring the defendants to provide equal housing opportunities to all, regardless of familial status.  The case is pending in federal court in the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.


The Greenbrier Village lawsuit alleges a pattern or practice of discrimination due to treating children less favorably in the use of common areas, and preventing children access to common areas by requiring that children be supervised at all times while playing outside.  The lawsuit sues on behalf of a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, the great-grandmother’s deceased partner, and other aggrieved persons.  Relief requested against the defendants includes injunctive relief, damages, and civil penalties.  The lawsuit was the result of a HUD complaint filed by the great-grandmother and a subsequent HUD investigation.


Earlier this year in Minnesota as well, HUD settled a familial status discrimination claim with a condominium association, its management company and manager.   The association and management agreed to pay over $ 40,000 to resolve allegations that the association refused to allow children under the age of 18 to live at the condominium project.  The HUD charge stated that the association failed to maintain the requirements for an exemption under the Housing for Older Persons Act.  An owner had filed a HUD complaint after the association fined and sued him to prevent his children from living with he and his wife.  Under the settlement, $ 30,000 is to be paid to the owner, and $ 12,200 paid to the owner’s attorney.


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