RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has filed suit against dozens of Central Virginia corporate landlords alleging that they’ve systematically violated Virginia law.
Herring’s 13 suits, some of which name multiple landlords as defendants, allege that the companies refused, as a matter of established company policy, to accept housing assistance vouchers and turned away prospective tenants who expressed an interest in using them.
The suits are among the first major legal actions taken under a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2020 banning owners of rental properties from discriminating against potential tenant’s on the basis of their source of income, “including any assistance, benefit, or subsidy program.”
That discrimination disproportionately affects Black residents. In Virginia, data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that Black residents make up nearly 80% of those receiving housing vouchers or living in public housing.
The suits were brought by the state’s Office of Civil Rights, an initiative started by Herring earlier this year. They were done on behalf of the non-profit Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), an investigative watchdog group that supports tenant’s rights.
The Attorney General’s filings in Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield circuit court detail how HRI investigators called leasing offices, posing as prospective tenants seeking to use housing vouchers to help pay rent.
One leasing agent for Metro Sound, an apartment on Broad Street in Richmond, told HRI, “The general manager said not to accept [housing vouchers]… the guy who signs my paychecks said no.”
The state is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and civil penalties, as well as a court order compelling the landlords to cease the alleged discriminatory practices.
The following corporate landlords were named in the suits:
- Campus-Sydnor, LLC d/b/a The Sydnor Flats
- CCSHP The Collection, LLC d/b/a The Collection Midtown
- Campus Apartments, LLC d/b/a Pierce Arrow Properties
- PMC Kensington Court Apartments, LLC
- 1806 East Franklin Street, LLC; 403 Stockton Street, LLC
- PMC/Seaboard, LLC
- PMC Property Group, Inc
- Harrison Street Development LLC
- 18th Street Management, LLC
- FC Cameron Kinney LLC
- Brookfield Properties Multifamily, LLC
- Studio Row LLC and Fulton Hill Properties, LLC
- Shockoe Realty Ventures LLC
- Gates, Hudson, and Associates, Inc.
- Miller & Rhoads Condominium Association, Inc.
- HRI Properties, LLC. CB Richmond Associates, L.C.
- Rangewater Residential, LLC
- Historic Broad Pioneers, LLC d/b/a Metro Sound Apartments
- Copper Springs Property LP and Bell Partners Inc.
- MDO Champions LLC
- CORE Realty Holdings Management, Inc.
- Falling Creek BL Owner LLC and Brick Lane LLC
- Dominion Realty Partners, LLC
- Rivergate KW Management LLC