Frederick County Human Relations Department Announces Investigation Into Rent Discrimation

It says some residents on housing assistance were charged higher rents by apartment complex.

Frederick, Md IKM) An investigation has been launched by the Frederick County Human Relations Department into alleged discriminatory rental rates.

Officials say households being assisted by Housing Choice Vouchers were being charged higher rents than other tenants in the same apartment complex. The county did not release the name of the complex.

“When our most vulnerable residents are victimized by discriminatory housing practices, it affects our entire community with taxpayers bearing the brunt of the cost,” says County Executive Jessica Fitzwater, in a statement. “Affordable housing is one of my top   priorities, because every person deserves a safe, affordable place to live. ”

The Human Relations Department says it will be working with these residents in filing complaints with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Laws in Maryland and Frederick County prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s source of income. Housing Choice Vouchers are considered income, and a tenant cannot be charged a higher rent if that person receives  a portion of their income from housing assistance, say county officials.

“We are currently trying to assist  any voucher recipient that may have been impacted by this issue,:” says Human Relations Director Anthony L. Russell, in a statement. “We have been in constant communication with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights to make sure they receive all the information from our Frederick County residents.”

If you feel you have suffered discrimination in Frederick County, contact Mr. Russell at 301-600-1110, or by e-mail to [email protected].

By Kevin McManus