WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging 21 Palms RV Resort, Inc. and Nathan Dykgraaf, owner and manager of 21 Palms RV Resort Park in Davenport, Florida, with discriminating against a former tenant because of her gender identity. Read the Charge here.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating because of a tenant’s gender identity. This includes prohibiting tenants from expressing their gender. HUD’s Charge of Discrimination resulted from a complaint that the tenant filed with HUD. The Charge alleges that Mr. Dykgraaf violated the Act when he gave the tenant a letter stating that he was aware she was transitioning and telling her to act as a man, talk as a man, and dress as a man to avoid trouble.
“No one should have to change how they express their gender identity to maintain their housing,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Setting restrictions like these is not only unacceptable, it is illegal. This charge demonstrates HUD’s commitment to enforcing the Fair Housing Act and ensuring housing providers meet their fair housing obligations.”
“The conduct alleged here provides a clear example of unlawful discrimination,” said Damon Smith, HUD’s General Counsel. “This Charge makes clear that the Department will take action to stop housing providers from subjecting transgender tenants to such unlawful conduct.”
HUD’s charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an ALJ finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the ALJ may award damages to the complainants for harm caused by the discrimination. The ALJ may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the ALJ may impose fines to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the federal district court judge may also award punitive damages.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).