BALTIMORE (CN) – A nonprofit fair-housing group claims the owner-manager of three dozen Maryland apartment complexes offered white renters cheaper rent than it offered African-Americans, and offered white “testers” a choice of eight to 10 apartments, while offering black testers just one.
Baltimore Neighborhoods sued Home Properties in Federal Court. It claims it sent black and white “testers” to Home Properties’ Fox Hall Apartments, in Baltimore County, one of 36 apartment and townhouse developments the defendant corporation owns and manages in Maryland.
“Repeatedly, defendants’ agents offered the African-American testers only one apartment at quoted prices. The white testers were offered the same apartment at lower prices, as well as additional apartments,” the complaint states.
The testers went to Fox Hall in December 2010 and March this year. “(T)he white testers were offered eight to approximately 10 current or upcoming vacancies while each plaintiff tester was offered only one.” The two individual plaintiffs are both African-Americans, one male, one female. “The price for the one specific apartment quoted to plaintiff testers was higher than that offered to the white testers,” the complaint adds.
“Defendants’ agents intentionally gave plaintiff testers false information and incorrectly informed them that fewer housing opportunities existed at Fox Hall Apartments, and at high prices.
“Defendants’ agents intentionally gave the testers this disparate treatment in order to discourage African-Americans from living at Fox Hall Apartments.”
Baltimore Neighborhoods claims Home Properties violated the federal and Maryland Fair Housing Acts. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages, an injunction and costs. It is represented by David Jacobson.