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Missouri judge throws out part of a former tenant’s complaint

| Oct 10, 2019 | Landlord-tenant Law |

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of factors like disability, religion or race in buying or renting a home. A former tenant of a St. Louis, Missouri, apartment building recently filed a lawsuit against the landlord and owner claiming that they violated her rights under the Fair Housing Act on two different counts. A judge dismissed one of the counts but determined that the plaintiff, an African American woman, had a plausible claim on the other. 

According to the lawsuit, the landlord and the owner of the building allowed law enforcement to search the woman’s apartment, which she claimed was a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. The lawsuit goes on to allege that the landlord and building owner did not renew her lease on account of her race, claiming a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The plaintiff claimed another Fair Housing Act violation over the building owner and the landlord filing a report with authorities claiming that she had stolen property. 

The court determined that the plaintiff’s claim that her race played at least a part in the decision not to renew her lease had sufficient evidence to make it plausible. However, the judge dismissed the other count, asserting that that portion of the lawsuit did not state a valid claim for relief and giving the plaintiff 15 days to file an amended complaint.

The building owner and landlord claimed that the terms of state law gave them the right not to renew the lease. They filed a motion to dismiss the claims on September 20th. Landlords facing lawsuits from current or former tenants may find it helpful to contact an attorney.