Lawsuit Accuses Local Housing Provider of Discrimination on the Basis of Race and Color

The Fair Housing Center Has Filed a Lawsuit Alleging That Secor, LLC, Kwapich Real Estate Companies, and River Asset Management, LLC, Violated the Federal Fair Housing Act “FHA,” and the Fair Housing Laws of the State of Ohio

The Fair Housing Center has filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against Secor, LLC, Kwapich Real Estate Companies, and River Asset Management, LLC, “Defendants,” in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division. The lawsuit alleges the Defendants engaged in race-based discrimination violating the Fair Housing Act.

Plaintiff lived incident-free at Secor Flats for more than one year when ownership was transferred to Defendant 5109 Secor, LLC in December 2020. They subsequently engaged Kwapich Real Estate Companies (River Asset Management) to manage the property. Despite a clean rental history, the Plaintiffs’ lease was terminated in November 2021 due to a criminal record from 2015 found in a background check conducted by the Defendants.

The Fair Housing Center joined the Plaintiff, claiming that the Defendants’ criminal convictions ban disproportionately affected him based on race. After an investigation, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) found it probable that Defendants engaged in discriminatory conduct. Despite the Plaintiffs’ clean record since 2015, the Defendants’ criminal convictions policy failed to consider individual circumstances, violating Fair Housing Laws.

The lawsuit asserts that the Defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, and the Ohio Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission determined that it was probable that Defendants engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices based on race and color in violation of the fair housing laws of Ohio, Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.01, et seq.

After a thorough investigation by The Fair Housing Center, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission also found that the Defendants’ policies and practices of relying solely on criminal convictions as a basis for denying housing opportunities have a disparate impact on black African American males.

“Housing providers should be aware of the strong connection between racial discrimination and denying housing opportunities based on criminal history. Generally, housing providers should only consider recent criminal conduct that indicates a demonstrable risk to safety or property. Other criminal conduct not relevant to legitimate business concerns should not be considered.,” said George Thomas, CEO and General Counsel for The Fair Housing Center.

The Plaintiff will be represented by George Thomas, Esq., Fair Housing Opportunities of Northwest Ohio, and Jacob Davis, Esq., Nalls Davis | Attorneys at Law.