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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that Virginia Realty Company of Tidewater Inc., a property management company based in Virginia Beach, Va., will pay $82,500 to settle allegations that it refused to allow a Hispanic woman to apply for an apartment because she did not speak fluent English. Virginia Realty had a policy of not renting to persons with limited English proficiency.

Virginia Realty has agreed to pay the prospective tenant $7,500 and will donate $25,000 each to the Piedmont Housing Alliance, Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Nueva Vida (New Life) Outreach International Church to support fair housing initiatives. In addition, Virginia Realty has agreed to adopt initiatives to accommodate prospective tenants with limited proficiency in English.

"Denying housing because a person does not speak English well violates the Fair Housing Act," says John Trasvina, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. “This "ettlement reaffirms HUD's commitment to combating discrimination against a person because of their national origin or the language they speak."


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