The homeowners association and property managers for an Edina condominium building have agreed to pay $40,000 to settle housing discrimination allegations, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Wednesday.
HUD charged the homeowners association for 7000 Sandell Condominiums, St. Louis Park-based property management company New Concepts Management Group, and the property’s manager, Paul Bonzonie, with violating the Fair Housing Act; the three parties allegedly broke the law when they tried to bar a couple of young boys from living in the building.
HUD investigated the complex’s operations after a condo owner filed a complaint with the federal agency. According to HUD, the condo owner—who has two boys under 18—claimed that the association and the property managers tried to drive his family out of the building because his two sons were living with him and his wife. The association allegedly claimed that the condo building was a 55-plus residence and levied fines against the family. Then, it initiated a lawsuit against the family in an effort to keep the couple’s children from living with them, according to HUD.
However, the 18-unit condo building had not met federal qualifications to be classified as housing for people in the 55-plus age group, federal officials alleged. Specifically, the association failed to formally and routinely verify the ages of the complex’s residents, as required by federal regulations, HUD said.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers, including condominium associations, from denying housing to families with children under the age of 18, unless the property meets the federal standards to be housing for people in a certain age group.
The three parties that were charged have agreed to pay the condo owner $30,000, pay his attorney $12,200, and allow the couple and their children to live in their condo without fear of retaliation or harassment, HUD said.
“HUD will continue to take action any time a family’s fair housing rights are violated just because they have children,” John Trasviña, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a statement.