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Edmonds landlords settle suit over not renting to families with kids

FILE - The U.S. Justice Department sued in federal court in Seattle on March 3, contending that the owners and manager of three Edmonds apartment buildings refused to rent to families with children. (Photo: KOMO News)

EDMONDS, Wash. -- Edmonds landlords will have to pay $95,000 in damages and civil penalties after the United States Department of Justice settled a lawsuit Wednesday with three buildings who reportedly discriminated against tenants, according to a news release.

According to the release, a settlement was reached Wednesday with the owners and a manager of three Edmonds apartment buildings who were accused of refusing to rent their apartments to families with children.

The discrimination is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, according to the news release.

"Equal access top housing is essential for all Americans, including families with young children," said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington in the release. "Particularly in our tight housing market, landlords must follow the law and make units available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status."

The Justice Department said the lawsuit involves three Edmonds apartment buildings at 201 Fifth Ave. N., 621 Fifth Ave. S. and 401 Pine St. According to the lawsuit, Debbie A. Appleby, of Stanwood, manages the apartments and three limited liability corporations controlled by Appleby own the apartments: Apple One, LLC, Apple Two, LLC, and Apple Three, LLC.

The lawsuit alleged that in March 2014 Appleby told a woman looking for an apartment for herself, her husband and 1-year-old child that the buildings were adult only.

Part of the settlement includes that the defendants will pay $35,000 in damages to the family with the child they turned away. Another $35,000 will go to compensate other families harmed by the defendant's practices. The remaining $25,000 is a civil penalty to the United States, according to the news release.

"The Fair Housing Act prohibits apartment owners and managers from denying housing to families because they have children," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in the release. "We will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act's prohibition of discrimination against families with children."

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