ICRC Director issues charge against housing providers
INDIANAPOLIS – Jamal L. Smith, in his official capacity as the Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), issued a notice of finding and issuance of charge against Alva and Jerrilyn Lemond of Indianapolis, Ind. The charge states there is reasonable cause to believe an unlawful discriminatory practice occurred in violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act (Ind. Code § 22-9.5, et seq.,) and the Indiana Civil Rights Law (Ind. Code § 22-9, et seq.,)
An investigation has been completed. The first issue before the Commission is whether the Respondent refused to rent to the Complainant because of her familial status. The second issue before the Commission is whether Respondents made discriminatory statements demonstrating a preference for applicants without children.
By way of background, and all times relevant to the Complaint, Complainant was searching for a residence for her and her family which consisted of her fiancé and two children under the age of 18. Complainant alleges that they responded to a “for rent” sign about a 2-bedroom home operated by the Respondents Alva and Jerrilyn Lemond of Indianapolis, Ind.
During her inquiry, Complainant alleges that the Respondent asked whether she had children and mentioned that the place “wouldn’t work out” once she indicated that she did have children. Despite Complainant’s assertions, there is insufficient evidence to show that she was denied an opportunity to rent. However, reasonable cause does exist in the second issue of whether the Respondents made a discriminatory statement.
One of the Respondents, Jerilynn Lemond, informed the Commission that she refuses to rent the upstairs units to individuals with children as she does not want them to “get hurt”. She also informed the Commission that “it is her property and she can determine how many children can live in a house.”
Because the law specifically prohibits the “publication, posting, or mailing of a notice, a statement or an advertisement prohibited under Ind. Code § 22-9.5-5-2,” reasonable cause exists that a discriminatory practice occurred as alleged.
A public hearing is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act and the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred. As permitted by 910 IAC 2-6-6(h), Respondents, Complainant, or an aggrieved person on whose behalf the Complaint is filed may elect to have the claims asserted in a civil action under Ind. Code § 22-9.5-6-12 in lieu of an administrative proceeding.