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Landlord Of Bucks County Apartment Building To Pay $450K In Housing Discrimination Settlement


A Bucks County landlord and its property manager have agreed to pay $450K and change their tenant application to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit.

Residential Management, a Brooklyn-based property management firm, had required applicants at a Warminster apartment building to have a Social Security number and no criminal record, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Lack of a Social Security number led to a couple, one half of which was a recent immigrant to the U.S., being denied a unit at Aspen Grove Apartment Homes in 2019. The property is owned by an anonymous LLC named Bucks Landing 120.

The couple was represented by area housing nonprofit Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania, which alleged that requiring a Social Security number violated the Fair Housing Act barring discrimination based on national origin, the Inquirer reports.

Residential Management and Bucks Landing also required tenants to have no criminal record. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released guidance in 2016 stating that outright bans on tenants with criminal records constituted discrimination.

As part of the settlement, the application’s restriction on criminal records now only applies to certain felonies, the Inquirer reports.

HEC filed a complaint with HUD on behalf of the couple in 2020 and reached the settlement agreement in August, the Inquirer reports. The federal agency signed off on the deal last month.

As part of the settlement, the two companies did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $450K in damages and legal fees, with a portion dedicated to fund fair housing education, the Inquirer reports.

Residential Management also agreed to remove the two requirements in question from the application at 10 properties it manages across Bucks County, New Jersey and Florida.

In the years since the incident that precipitated the settlement, rental housing in the Philly suburbs has become much more competitive

From the outbreak of the pandemic through September, rental rates have increased in the region's suburbs by 27.7%, according to Apartment List data — nearly double the 14.1% rate by which rents have risen in Philadelphia over that time.