HUD RULING AWARDS NEARLY $50,000 IN ALABAMA RACE DISCRIMINATION CASE
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that a HUD Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has ordered a Marshall County, Alabama, landlord to pay $49,165 in damages and penalties for violating the Fair Housing Act. HUD initially charged Phillip and Opal Maze, respectively the rental manager and owner of a Marshall County mobile home, with discriminating based on race in December 2009. In an order that became final on May 25, 2011, the ALJ found that Phillip Maze discriminated against a white family and an African American man because one of the family members was dating the African American man.
“Housing providers can’t deny you housing or services because they disapprove of the race of your friends or associates,” said John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Doing so is unacceptable and strikes at the core of our freedoms. HUD will prosecute these cases fully.”
Phillip Maze’s violations include requiring the African American man to leave the premises because of his race; imposing a more restrictive guest policy on the family because they associated with an African American; making statements that indicated a preference based on race; and engaging in coercion and intimidation. Phillip Maze told the family member who was dating the African American man and leasing the mobile home with her sister and her sister’s family, that the family had to move out because he didn’t believe in interracial dating. He turned off the water to the family’s home after observing the African American visitor. When the white female tenant asked what it would take to have the water turned back on, Mr. Maze told her to “get rid of the black boyfriend.”
The order requires the landlord to pay the white residents and their African American friend $39,165 in damages and to pay the United States a $10,000 civil penalty. The order also requires Phillip Maze to complete fair housing training before renting out any properties in the future. If he then chooses to rent out a dwelling, Mr. Maze has to, among other things, provide the local HUD office with copies of any advertisements or leases associated with the property, and if any applicant is rejected, a statement identifying the reason for the rejection.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY).
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.