Justice Department accuses Carson City landlords of discrimination

The federal Justice Department has filed suit accusing two Carson City landlords of discrimination by refusing to rent to people with children.

Betty and Hughston Brinson placed several classified advertisements during a year-long period stating that they wanted adult tenants and, according to the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, refused to rent to a family with three children “because they did not want children living at the property.”

Barbie and Stephen Tese attempted to view and possibly rent a property owned by the Brinson’s on Caroline Street but, according to the suit, when she told Betty Brinson she had three children, “Ms. Brinson told her that the house is not right for her.”

“Ms. Brinson refused to offer the Teses the opportunity to view or rent the Caroline St. property because they had children,” the complaint states.

The suit said the Brinsons also advertised for tenants in a 36-unit complex they own, again stating that the dwelling units were for “1 or 2 adults.”

The suit charges that the advertisements and her conduct constitute discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act and asks for a court order prohibiting the Brinsons from engaging in discriminatory practices in the future.

It also asks for monetary damages for the Teses as well as a civil penalty.

“The Fair Housing Act includes important protections for families with children,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

That federal law also prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability. The advertisements ran in the Nevada Appeal.

The lawsuit was filed in Reno’s federal court on Friday.


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