Dallas Apartment Complex Accused of Discriminating Against Muslims
- Mar 08, 2010
Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Dallas–An apartment complex in the Dallas-Fort Worth-area has been accused of housing discrimination against Muslims, specifically by requiring prospective Muslim renters to choose apartments in only one part of the complex, or by not renting to them at all. The accusations stem from a Federal Fair Housing complaint filed in January against StoneBridge at Bear Creek in Euless, Texas, alleging the discrimination. A former StoneBridge leasing agent named Daneisha Davis filed the complaint.
Early last week, a DFW-area television station, WFAA, reported that Davis asserted that it was management practice to turn away would-be renters assumed to be Muslims (the term used in the report was “if they looked Asian or Middle Eastern,” though those geographic-based descriptions aren’t synonymous with Islam or Muslim populations). Or if they weren’t turned away, they were required to lease apartments in two of the complex’s 21 buildings.
Later last week, the Washington, DC-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to determine whether the apartment complex had indeed violated federal fair housing laws. “All Americans, regardless of faith or ethnic background, have the legal right to equal access to housing,” said CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper in a statement.
Though not commenting directly in this case, the Jeanne McGlynn Delgado, vice president of business and risk management policy of the National Multi-Housing Council, tells MHN, “the professionally managed apartment industry takes seriously its responsibility to advance fair housing in all of its communities. NMHC works to educate its members on the range of issues they need to know to ensure compliance with the law.”
The management of StoneBridge at Bear Creek could not be reached by MHN for comment on the matter on Monday.
The filing of a fair housing complaint is only the first step in a long process, and very few complaints are actually reviewed by a court. According to HUD, in 2006 (the most recent year for which numbers are available), 1 percent of all complaints were referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution. Civil discrimination charges were filed in another 1 percent of the cases.
More frequently (22 percent of the time), cases end up closed because the complainant withdraws the complaint, fails to cooperate or can’t be located. In 36 percent of the cases, an agreement or private settlement is made, and fully 40 percent of the complaints are dismissed for lack of evidence.