A management firm that administers leases and tenant applications in Washington, D.C. and buildings across the country - including in Baltimore - has agreed in a settlement to evaluate its software and ensure none of its properties discriminate against renters who receive government housing subsidies. The settlement agreement, announced December 12th by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General (DCOAG), Brian L. Schwalb (D), resolves a lawsuit filed by the Equal Rights Center against the owners and managers of the Adams View Apartments, a Ward 3 apartment complex located in Cleveland Park, which offers studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for rent.
The full settlement agreement is available here.
Earlier in 2023, the ERC filed suit against the owners and managers of the Adams View Apartments (Adams Investment Group, Adams-Cathedral LLC, the Barkan Management Company, Broadhouse Management Group LLC, and Entrata, Inc.) alleging violations of the District’s Human Rights Act and Consumer Protection Act. The ERC alleged that the building and its operators systematically refused to accept voucher-holders as tenants. Defendants in the case have said that they did not use discriminatory practices and, according to the settlement agreement, agreed not to discriminate in the future against any prospective renters on any basis prohibited by federal or local law.
Lehi, Utah-based Entrata, according to its website, "Offer(s) a wide variety of online tools including websites, mobile apps, payments, lease signing, accounting, and resident management, Entrata® PaaS currently serves more than 20,000 apartment communities nationwide." It runs software that enables landlords and property managers to run more leasing processes digitally, and was formerly known as Property Solutions.
Under the settlement:
(1) Entrata agreed to review and change its practices in jurisdictions where source-of-income discrimination is prohibited - such as Maryland - and hard-encode in its internal operations and documents that housing vouchers are accepted at the properties it represents.
(2) The company further agreed to “undertake a review of the current” operating documents to “ensure that [in no] state that Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8, or other housing vouchers are not accepted.”
(3) 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.
(4) The defendants also agreed to pay $235,000 to the ERC and the District “for restitution, damages, future training and compliance, attorney’s fees, and civil penalties,” the D.C. attorney general’s office said.
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.