Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman

 

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Pines Apartment LLC operates the Pines of Perington apartment complex, in turn owned and managed by codefendant, Winn Residential. Plaintiffs—a married Muslim couple who dress in traditional attire—alleged defendants denied them housing due to their religion, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Granting defendants summary judgment, district court dismissed suit, concluding that even assuming plaintiffs had made out a prima facie case of religious discrimination, defendants supplied a legitimate, nondiscriminatory rationale for not renting an apartment to plaintiffs based on their inability–in connection with defendants’ “applicant screening” process–to verify their rental history. Regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development permit owners of rental housing to “screen families on the basis of their tenancy histories.” The information plaintiffs provided in their rental application did not meet the five-year rental history requirement set out in defendants’ Resident Selection Plan and contact information was deficient for at least two of the five landlords provided. Although the record supported plaintiffs’ claim they were treated unfairly, it did not support their claim they were so treated due to their religious beliefs.

Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman

 

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Pines Apartment LLC operates the Pines of Perington apartment complex, in turn owned and managed by codefendant, Winn Residential. Plaintiffs—a married Muslim couple who dress in traditional attire—alleged defendants denied them housing due to their religion, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Granting defendants summary judgment, district court dismissed suit, concluding that even assuming plaintiffs had made out a prima facie case of religious discrimination, defendants supplied a legitimate, nondiscriminatory rationale for not renting an apartment to plaintiffs based on their inability–in connection with defendants’ “applicant screening” process–to verify their rental history. Regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development permit owners of rental housing to “screen families on the basis of their tenancy histories.” The information plaintiffs provided in their rental application did not meet the five-year rental history requirement set out in defendants’ Resident Selection Plan and contact information was deficient for at least two of the five landlords provided. Although the record supported plaintiffs’ claim they were treated unfairly, it did not support their claim they were so treated due to their religious beliefs.