|HUD No. 24-013
HUD Public Affairs
January 23, 2024
HUD Charges Montana Property Manager and Apartment Complex Owner with Retaliation
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today it is charging an individual property manager and ownership entity in Livingston, Montana, for retaliation against a tenant for their exercise of fair housing rights, retaliatory behavior including coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference in violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act. Read HUD’s Charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits retaliation for exercising fair housing rights, as well as coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with someone’s exercise of those rights.
“The abhorrent conduct alleged in this case violates the Fair Housing Act,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Tenants should not live in fear of retaliation, or any kind of discrimination protected by the Act. Today’s action sends a clear message that HUD will hold housing providers accountable when they violate the law.”
HUD’s Charge of Discrimination alleges that the property manager and owner of a Livingston, Montana, ten-unit apartment complex retaliated against a tenant after the tenant informed the property manager that his unwanted conduct toward her daughter was inappropriate given the property manager’s position as landlord. After the tenant confronted the property manager, the property manager took several retaliatory actions, including sending multiple threats of eviction, revoking tenancy privileges, and sending harassing text messages, culminating in seeking to evict the complainant. The tenant felt compelled to leave the unit and seek out alternative, less desirable housing because of the retaliation.
“The deplorable conduct alleged in this case constitutes retaliation that violates the Fair Housing Act,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s General Counsel. “HUD is steadfastly committed to protecting the rights of tenants to be free from such retaliation by landlords.”
A United States Administrative Law Judge will hear HUD’s charge unless any party elects to have the case heard in Federal district court. If the Administrative Law Judge finds, after a hearing, that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to the resident for his losses as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination and payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest. If the Federal court hears the case, the Judge may also award punitive damages to the resident.
People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). More information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing and www.justice.gov.