A Rapid City landlord accused of discriminating against a woman and her teenage daughter has settled a lawsuit brought by the federal government.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office had charged Amie Kelly with discrimination based on gender and familial status, a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Kelly owned and managed a three-unit residential property in the 600 block of Adams Street, according to court records.
Authorities said Kelly rented out her one-bedroom basement apartment to a bachelor in July 2015, five days after refusing Jennifer Seiler and Seiler's teenage daughter. Kelly allegedly also didn’t want unsupervised minors on her property.
Under the court settlement, Kelly will pay Seiler $3,000 in damages. Kelly also agreed to undergo Fair Housing training, implement nondiscrimination policies and regularly submit compliance reports to the federal government, according to the settlement her lawyer signed June 22.
The matter was brought to federal court after Seiler and Kelly failed to administratively resolve the issue before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The civil case, filed in November 2016, was dismissed by the U.S. District Court of South Dakota on Wednesday.
Seiler wanted Kelly’s apartment because it was close to the school her 17-year-old daughter had planned to attend, HUD said in its court complaint. Seiler apparently didn’t have a vehicle.
Mother and daughter found alternative housing at a “significantly more expensive" apartment complex, HUD said. Kelly had advertised her apartment for $625 a month plus $100 for each additional resident.
Seiler also had to switch her daughter’s school and buy a vehicle because their apartment was not on a bus line, HUD said.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status.
The Department of Justice are advising community members who believe they may have been victims of housing discrimination to call HUD at 800-669-9777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.