Illegal Immigrants Facing Eviction Allege Fair Housing Act Violation
Legal Aid Attorneys Say Mobile Home Park Discriminates
The Legal Aid Justice Center is trying to keep 15 residents of a Northern Virginia mobile home park from being evicted by arguing the management company is are violating the Fair Housing Act.
The management company, A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, requires all new tenants to show their Social Security cards so background checks can be done on them.
However, 15 residents of Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax are immigrants who do not have Social Security cards. They are low wage workers who appear to be in the United States illegally.
They are trying to avoid eviction through a series of lawsuits in which the Legal Aid Justice Center is helping to represent them.
Legal Aid attorneys say the residents are being targeted because of their immigration status, which violates the federal Fair Housing Act prohibitions against discrimination.
As evidence, the attorneys say Virginia's landlord-tenant law allows landlords to accept IRS tax identification numbers as proof of identity. Although Social Security numbers are a better source of information for background checks, investigators also could use tax ID numbers.
Waples Mobile Home Park managers accepted tax ID numbers until last fall. The change in policy was merely because they want to get rid of illegal immigrants, according to the Legal Aid attorneys.
The management company denies the allegation, saying the Social Security number requirement is a reasonable demand that is enforced uniformly for all residents, regardless of their immigration status.
The eviction proceedings are pending in Fairfax County’s General District Court.
The dispute appears to represent a larger trend for the Washington area, where mobile home park residents increasingly consist of immigrants in blue collar jobs. Mobile homes offer the residents an affordable housing option in a region with some of the nation's highest housing costs.