Landlord paid $16,000 to settle a Department of Fair Employment and Housing complaint after retaliating against children who played in the common area by removing a fence making it more dangerous to play and serving a 60 day notice to quit.
Yesenia Soto and her three children lived in Salinas at an apartment complex for three years. The landlord had a written policy stating that there was not enough space at the complex for children to play and children were prohibited from playing along the stairs and in the parking lot. The owner of the complex, Frank De La Cruz, harassed Ms. Soto and her children when he saw her children playing outside. The housing provider also removed a fence that surrounded the apartment complex endangering the children who resisted the “no play” rule. The property faced a busy road where parents feared children may be hit by moving vehicles after the fence was removed. When Ms. Soto questioned why the gate was removed, the housing provider served Ms. Soto with a 60-day Notice to Terminate the Tenancy and ultimately filed an unlawful detainer against Ms. Soto. As part of the settlement of this matter, the housing provider agreed to pay $16,000 to Yesenia Soto, revise all rules to eliminate all discriminatory “no play” rules/practices at all apartment complexes and housing accommodations owned or managed by Housing Providers, inform tenants of the elimination of the rules prohibiting children from playing in common areas, attend fair housing training, and replace the gate at the complex.