Four Latino families filed papers to sue their Virginia landlord Monday after he threatened eviction due to illegal family members living on the premises.
The civil rights lawsuit filed by families living in Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax County, Va., claims it is discriminatory to require a social security number for residency. The landlords at the mobile home park are requiring residents to provide either a social security card, passport or valid visa with documentation to renew their leases, reports The Washington Post.The lawyers representing the families, from the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm, say the actions are targeted discrimination that disproportionately affects Latinos in the community. All the families involved in the lawsuit have lived in the park for at least two years and have at least one family member without legal residency. The landlords say they need the documentation in order to conduct proper criminal background checks.
The suit filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia says the requirement violates the Fair Housing Act and the Virginia Fair Housing law, according to WJLA.
“This type of discrimination is all too common, but the law is unfortunately far from clear,” Ivy Finkenstadt of LAJC said in a statement. “Many cities and counties across the country have tried to put into place similar laws, and they have routinely been struck down by the federal courts.”
The lawsuit also alleges the landlord changed the lease status to month-to-month for any family with an illegal individual living in the residence. A member of one of the families said they already had to leave their home due to the demands of the landlord.
“They’re kicking out people who have a history of paying bills on time and who have been good tenants,” Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of the LAJC, told The Washington Post. “Even if the court ultimately decides the landlord has a right to do this, it’s equally clear the landlord doesn’t have to do this.”
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