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Ga. Landlord paying $80K for Tenant-to-Tenant Harassment

According to a HUD allegation, landlords are responsible for Fair Housing Act violations by one tenant against another if the landlord does nothing to stop it.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an $80,000 Conciliation/Voluntary Compliance Agreement with Oglethorpe Square Apartments of Savannah, Georgia, and Gene B. Glick Company of Indianapolis, Indiana.

The agreement settles allegations that the owners and management agent for the Woods of Savannah apartment complex subjected African-American tenants at the property to repeated instances of racial harassment by white tenants, including verbal attacks and physical assaults.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in housing because of race or color, which includes a failure to take measures to end tenant-on-tenant harassment and denying tenants’ maintenance requests.

“No one should ever have to face threats or be subjected to physical violence in the place they call home because of their race,” says HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Anna María Farías.

“The agreement we’re announcing today is a reminder to housing providers everywhere that HUD is committed to ensuring that they meet their obligation to comply with the nation’s fair housing laws.”

The case came to HUD’s attention when three African-American residents of The Woods of Savannah filed complaints claiming that the owners of the property refused to investigate and address their claims that white tenants had subjected them to racial harassment and verbal and physical assaults, including attacks by dogs. The three residents further alleged that the property’s management ignored their maintenance requests and delayed the maintenance requests of other African-American residents.

The housing provider denied discriminating against the residents but agreed to settle their complaints. Under the agreement terms, Oglethorpe Square Apartments and Gene B. Glick Company will pay the three residents who filed complaints $20,000 each, and create a $20,000 fund to compensate other residents who may have been subjected to racial harassment. The owners also agreed to provide annual fair housing training for the staff and on-site management of The Woods of Savannah.