WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced today a court-approved settlement agreement, secured alongside the Equal Rights Center (ERC), with Adams Investment Group LLC (Adams View), Adams-Cathedral, LLC, Barkan Management Company, Inc., Broadhouse Management Group, LLC, and Entrata, Inc. that resolves allegations that these owners, managers, and third-party leasing companies engaged in a pattern of source-of-income discrimination against prospective tenants who were housing voucher holders.
As a result, Entrata, a national property management software company that served as a third-party leasing call center at Adams View, must conduct an internal review of all its clients in jurisdictions across the country that prohibit source-of-income discrimination to ensure that its tenant evaluation processes no longer include source-of-income questions that could lead to discrimination against prospective tenants using any form of housing vouchers.
“It is illegal in the District of Columbia to discriminate against prospective tenants because they use housing vouchers,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “With affordable housing increasingly scarce across the city, my office will continue to vigorously enforce DC’s anti-discrimination laws in order to bridge equity gaps that too often prevent all Washingtonians from having access to an affordable place to live. The Equal Rights Center deserves enormous credit for initiating this case—today’s outcome provides strong relief not just for DC residents, but for tenants across the country who may have fallen victim to these illegal, discriminatory practices.”
“Discrimination against voucher holders is unfair, illegal, and keeps our communities segregated,” said ERC Executive Director Kate Scott. “This agreement we are announcing today represents progress in our fight to make the process of finding a new home in the District more equitable, and I’m grateful to the Office of the Attorney General for their partnership in this effort.”
As a result of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and Equal Rights Center’s lawsuit, the defendants will:
- Pay $235,000 to the ERC and the District for restitution, damages, future training and compliance, attorney’s fees, and civil penalties;
- Implement internal policy changes to ensure compliance with District anti-discrimination laws and prevent future source-of-income discrimination against prospective renters, including voucher holders;
- Undergo annual fair housing training for all staff involved in any aspect of the rental process, in addition to regular evaluations to verify ongoing compliance with DC law; and
- Entrata will change its practices in all jurisdictions nationally where source-of-income is a protected trait and will “hard code” all its current and future policy documents for its property manager clients to reflect that the clients accept housing vouchers in those jurisdictions and will respond accordingly to housing voucher holders that inquire about renting.
The full settlement agreement is available here.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Griffin Simpson and Samantha Miyahara Hall and Chief Alicia M. Lendon of the Civil Rights & Elder Justice Section of the Public Advocacy Division.
Housing Assistance & Anti-Discrimination Protections
Housing assistance programs play a key part in ensuring that affordable housing is available for those who want to live in DC. Thousands of DC residents rely on federal and local housing subsidies to pay their rent. DC’s anti-discrimination law, the Human Rights Act (HRA), prohibits housing discrimination based on source of income and makes it illegal for landlords to reject prospective tenants or treat tenants differently simply because they depend on vouchers or other forms of housing assistance. Last year, the DC Council passed the Eviction Record Sealing Authority and Fairness in Renting Amendment Act of 2022, which expands access to housing for voucher holders by strengthening anti-discrimination protections. This law makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate based on financial challenges voucher holders experienced before they obtained an income-based housing subsidy.
Report Housing Discrimination
District residents who believe that they have experienced housing discrimination, or any other form of discrimination, may report it to OAG’s Civil Rights & Elder Justice Section by:
- Submitting a civil rights tip online
- Calling (202) 727-3400
- E-mailing OAGCivilRights@dc.gov
- Mailing OAG, ATTN: Civil Rights & Elder Justice Section at 400 6th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
OAG’s civil rights work complements the work of the District’s Office of Human Rights (OHR), which is the primary District agency that investigates individual discrimination complaints. You can file a complaint with OHR at ohr.dc.gov/service/file-discrimination-complaint or call 202-727-4559.