Suit claims Jeffersonville landlord discriminated against kids

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday claims a Jeffersonville landlord discriminated against families with young children and denied them the opportunity to rent apartments in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Inc., announced the suit it filed on behalf of Meredith Fortner against Pinnacle Properties Development Group LLC, which owns and operates more than 400 rental dwellings in 13 properties around the Ohio River community.
The suit claims Foster, 24, who is a mother of three children age 3 or younger, tried to rent a two-bedroom apartment at Pinnacle’s Alyson Circle Apartment complex but was asked how the children would be arranged. When she told the rental agent the two older children would sleep in one bedroom and she would share her bedroom with her youngest, who was 9 months old, the agent said her supervisor wouldn’t allow it. No larger apartments were available.

After hearing of Foster’s experience, the Fair Housing Center used three testers who sought to rent units and also represented they had three young children, including an infant who the testers wished to sleep with the parent in the parent’s bedroom. All were denied, with one agent telling a tester, “Adults can’t share bedrooms with children because of fair housing law.”

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for Fortner and for the center to compensate for its investigation, plus legal fees and costs. “There now exists an actual controversy between the parties regarding Pinnacle’s duties under the Fair Housing Act. Accordingly, Fortner and the Fair Housing Center seek declaratory relief” as well as injunctive relief.

Pinnacle representatives did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday.

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