Legal Services Resolves Discrimination Case Against Landlord

Jeffrey Hearne, Director of Litigation at Legal Services

In 2015, Mr. Bason was homeless and trying to find housing using his Section 8 voucher provided by the Housing Authority of the City of Miami Beach. During this difficult housing search, he came across advertisements for available apartments on Craigslist posted by Renters’ Paradise and which stated “No Section 8.” Upset that he was categorically denied available housing solely because of his rental assistance rather than being evaluated based on his merits as a tenant, Mr. Bason filed his lawsuit to put an end to these unlawful advertisements and discriminatory practices.

The landlord and management company agreed to settle the complaint by paying a total of $25,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and costs, and agreed to the entry of permanent injunction which prohibits NJZ Enterprises and Renters’ Paradise from discriminating based upon a tenant’s source of income and from publishing future advertisements which include the phrase “No Section 8” or similar language.

Jeffrey Hearne, Director of Litigation at Legal Services and lead counsel on this case, explained, “Miami-Dade County has prohibited source of income discrimination since 2014. Many landlords ignore this prohibition and tell Section 8 voucher holders that they are not welcome as tenants. This can often be a pretext for discrimination based on race and familial status. This discrimination impacts our most vulnerable residents, including single parents, the elderly, and the disabled, and keeps deserving and qualified families from moving into safe and desirable housing. We hope this settlement will ensure that other tenants are not subject to unfair treatment.”

Eric Bason, plaintiff in this lawsuit, said, “I brought this lawsuit because so many voucher holders have the door shut in their face only because they receive some governmental assistance. Landlords need to know that they can’t violate the law without consequences. Everyone has the right to be fairly considered as a tenant without assumptions based on discriminatory stereotypes.”

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